The Flight of Sleipnir – Essence of Nine …   2 comments

I have listened to and enjoyed “Lore” immensely, let me start with that – it was moody, folk-influenced without being too overt about it, with all the right flavors mixed in. It was visceral at times, calm in others, and was one cool ride. Now comes “Essence of Nine”, the sophomore effort of the dynamic duo, and I am certain that the abbreviation of the album name ending up as the word “EoN” is no coincidence.

The Flight of Sleipnir sound has always been quite distinct, the first amongst it’s central tenets is a mid-fi approach. It’s not lo-fi and it’s not polished, it retains that little bit of scratch-and-pop, moderate-levels-of-production edge. This is still the case with “EoN”, and with the first distorted guitar tone that is not that distorted or fuzzed but still so, you know you’re treading familiar waters (if you’ve listened to “Lore”, that is.) That is a definite plus for The Flight of Sleipnir in general, that they have their identity grounded.

One more thing before we start breaking this bad boy down track-by-track: The Flight of Sleipnir has gone softer. Not soft, period, but noticeably softer: there are more acoustic songs, more clean vocals, more atmospheric/acoustic/soft passages, there is not another “No Man Will Spare Another” level of hard-hitting metal in “EoN.” Depending on your taste, this is either a bad thing or a good thing, for me, it’s so-so, but that’s because I’ve always preferred the harder side of this band.

So “EoN” opens with “Transcendence,” which is good old Flight of Sleipnir: soft at times, hard in orders, distorted guitars mixing with clean tones and growled vocals used in conjunction with the crooning passages. It’s everything about this band that we know and love. If you listened to “Lore”, you know what this track is all about. They follow that up with “Upon This Path We Tread” which starts with a slow intro but falls in between the harder and softer sides of the Flight of Sleipnir, again, displaying both with crooning vocals accompanying distorted, (yet somewhat still) folksy guitars. It’s a hypnotic, atmosphere-loaded track, with lead-ups to softer parts marked with faster and faster arpegiating guitars. But this song is marked by its intermissive parts, both lead-ups to them and resolutions of them into harder passages. Yum. Then comes “A Thousand Stones” which displays that the intros of the songs grow softer the further we go. This blends with the first three, in that it’s the two sides of The Flight of Sleipnir, mixing distorted guitars with acoustic ones, whispers with crooning vocals – but it throws a curveball somewhere towards the end and hits us hard. A track that is saved by a twist from being just another in the pile. Then comes the acoustic instrumental “As Ashes Rise (The Embrace of Dusk)” and, let me tell you, as a person who absolutely despises both instrumental songs and acoustic songs, I simply loved this track. It’s beautiful, it’s soft-spoken and serene, it’s everything you expect and so much more. Easily one of the best songs on here.

The album follows that up with “Nine Worlds,” displaying the “two-three hard, one acoustic, one hardr” pattern we know from “Lore” and putting the pedal to the metal. The soft, gentle intro of this song is a misdirection, preparing you for some impressive drumming, nice soloing and great atmosphere. It’s like it’s trying to one-up the tracks, all the tracks, that came before it, and it’s succeeding tremendously. It merits repeated, even obsessive listens, it’s simply “that” good. But for me, that’s where the album starts to fly a little bit over my head. “The Seer in White” is more of what came before: acoustics abound, intercut with a bit of distortion and a bit of rock, but is generally… you know what? You’ve heard this song before on this album, and on “Lore.” Then comes “As Cinders Burn (The Wake of Dawn)”, which is a very cool acoustic instrumental, keeping in line with the Flight of Sleipnir formula of having at least two of those in every album. It is almost as good as the other instrumental, and it’s upbeat, which make for one great, if too short, interlude. The album then comes to a close with the eighth track, “The Serpent Ring” which breaks the mold quite nicely. It’s an exceptional song with it’s rise-fall tempo, the incredible instrumentalization, nice interplay and vocal work, and its progression from a good song to an all-out awesome song. It follows an upward line, and never stops and is an incredible closer.

In short, the problem with “Lore” was that some songs (like Fenrisulfr, good Gods) tended to overshadow the others, because while there was nothing wrong with the other songs, they were just not that good. The problem with “EoN” is that it sticks a bit too close to “Lore” and at times tends to edge on repetitive with how pattern-laden it is. A typical song on “EoN” is: acoustic-heavy, with heavy partitions mixed in to keep up variety. The two instrumentals and the “harsher song after the first instrumental” is the previous album, word-for-word, and I don’t enjoy that. There is room for more variety, for fresher ideas. But, nonetheless, it “is” the Flight of Sleipnir and they deliver a thoroughly enjoyable album. It’s good, better than most folk acts out there (or so I believe), and is worth a listen. If you’re a fan, you won’t be disappointed much, and if you’re not familiar with the Flight of Sleipnir, it’s also a good place to start because it is very accessible. That is one thing from “Lore” I don’t mind staying the same. 7.5/10
Review Written By Sarp Esin

The Flight of Sleipnir Official
The Flight Of Sleipner @ Myspace

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Posted June 8, 2011 by doommantia in The Flight Of Sleipner

2 responses to “The Flight of Sleipnir – Essence of Nine …

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  1. totally, agree with the review!

    the raw side of the band is the one I prefer but EoN is way softer.

    also this album might be a bit repetitive like it was said on the review.

    I really love this band so I'll keep an eye open for future releases!

  2. Thank you, Dr. Doom, for your kind words.

    And yeah, I much prefered things like “Fenrisulfr” and “No Man Will Spare Another” because well, personal preference.

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