Epitome

Vanir

Like I previously mentioned, this isn’t a bad album but it was, for me, a trudge to reach the end. By the time the first few songs were over, I struggled to keep my attention on it. As a melodic death album, it is serviceable but mileage will definitely vary.
March 31, 2024

VANIR is a metal band from Denmark who formed in 2009. “Epitome” is their seventh full-length album. They have also released numerous singles, a demo and an EP. “Epitome” is my first experience with the band but, from my limited understanding, they used to be more aligned with folk metal in their early days. I can hear elements of that in “Epitome,” especially in just about every chorus and their approach to big, melodic hooks. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this album all that much. While it certainly isn’t bad, it isn’t one that is going to get any replay from me after the review. Sometimes it is hard to explain why I don’t like something---every now and then I get an album that checks off all the boxes of things I love in a band but it still doesn’t do anything for me. “Epitome” is such an album.

The production is big, loud and glossy but I feel it could have benefited being a little less vibrant, to allow the low end to add more weight to it because it all sounds very thin outside the vocals. The album begins with “Twisting The Knife,” and it basically sets up what I experienced for the rest of the album: fast paced melodic death. Everything the album has to offer is represented well in this song so it’s a safe bet that if you like this one, you’ll like the album as a whole. Of course the opposite holds too, if you don't like this song. The problem with "Twisting The Knife" is the problem I had with the album in general: it’s too long. That’s really an odd thing to type because it’s just nine tracks and about forty-five minutes long, which is average for the style. But “Twisting The Knife,” song feels much longer and needs to shave about a minute and half off the bottom end.

Some of the chorus choices don’t work as well for me, as others. “One Man Army” is an example, it feels overly repetitive and clunky. With that being said, the music on the song is decent, especially the melodies. That in of itself presents an issue with me though. There are plenty of melodies and harmonies, which is fine and typical of the genre, but the guitar work outside that isn’t very exciting. Like I previously mentioned, this isn’t a bad album but it was, for me, a trudge to reach the end. By the time the first few songs were over, I struggled to keep my attention on it. As a melodic death album, it is serviceable but mileage will definitely vary.

5 / 10

Mediocre

Songwritting

5

Musicianship

5

Memorability

5

Production

5
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"Epitome" Track-listing:

1. Twisting the Knife
2. One Man Army
3. Wood Iron and Will
4. Sanguis et Aurum
5. Sorte Grethe
6. Call to Arms
7. Fall of Arkona
8. Blood Eagle
9. Kings Will Fall

Vanir Lineup:

Martin Holmsgaard Håkan- Drums, Vocals (backing), Vocals (lead)
Kirk Backarach - Guitars (lead)
Stefan Dujardin- Keyboards
Mikael Christensen - Bass
Jon Elmquist - Drums
Michael Lundquist - Guitars

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