Album Review: Eivør – Enn

While I always saw Eivør close to metal imaginary with parts of its roughness, I would not have bet her getting closer to this genre following her Covid-era album Segl. Segl represents to me very well part of her Scandinavian musical heritage which is pop, seemingly heavily influenced by her American adventure and the connections she made from it. I felt it through the radio-friendly mastering making everything a little muddled. Her more “original”, solo-singing songs with purer instrumentals are much mellower. Just like this period in the end, we had lost this sparkle and epicness. Even if vocal-wise, it’s still Eivør. There is a bit more of this “je-ne-sais-quoi” by the end of the album though. The song featuring Wardurna’s Einar Selvik is not what I would have expected but it’s good nonetheless, it opens on something more atmospheric.

Although I’m not especially fond of Viking series, I think The Last Kingdom was a fantastic opportunity for her to give a new dimension to elements of her compositions. One could say it’s recycling but it’s more than that to me. She has the voice of such landscapes, she does pretty much whatever she wants of it. And being from the least known country of Scandinavia allows her to bypass clichés, which is honestly refreshing.

From all this, I still think that her full fledged metal introduction is thanks to her incredible album Slør, released before the two opuses I spoke of. I think this is when she started drawing metal community’s attention on her. This album is the holy grail I bought at the Tutl (Faroese label) shop in Tórshavn during my very first trip there back in 2017. It had a strong impact on me for two reasons. First, it became the soundtrack of my trips there, as “Salt” incredible echoed vocals in the introduction became the North Atlantic call to me (which I very ungratefully didn’t answer but I promise I’ll be back). And second, well, it is brilliant in contrast, epicness, visuals and atmosphere. There’s everything in there. This was a true spark. And I hope she has found and offers a new one with Enn.

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So I skimmed the press kit and went for my traditional first listening with a full focus. “Ein Klóta” opens in a soft yet bombastic way as down-to-earth piano and incredibly ethereal vocals cohabit in harmony. Then comes the first single of Enn, “Jarðartrá”, which left an indelible trace on me. The one song which came along just at the right time, which instantly talked to me and still does today. “Jarðartrá” is a shelter. Its concept, the idea behind the lyrics is both universal yet exclusive because it does not seem to me that this wish to go back to earth, to its warm and simple embrace was ever shared, at least not in this way.

As I’ve always thought Eivør’s choices of artwork were never really random if a way that each element has a meaning, precise or part of the aura of her work, I refered myself to it all along. I could not say whether I am right about each piece and my interpretation but it makes sense to me. In the press kit, Eivør said:

“I felt I was making a concept album, in a sense, about the Earth, about our home, our planet. Then it developed into both nature but also human nature—both the outer and the inner landscape, and the struggles of the heart, the struggles between the Earth and humans.”

I got to situate the first two tracks and went on this journey through all these different aspects. They were approached by ways which did not really speak to me at first but that I eventually understood. While “Hugsi Bert Um Teg” is a very much a pop song dripping love, “Purpurhjarta” surprised me by its odd piano melody but eventually turned out beautiful. The last one is part of the lyrical songs lead by piano of the album, in which Eivør’s opera training stand out. I admit it is rather the composition with beats that work the best on me such as “Enn”. I love the kulning like introduction, the recurrent humming bass, and the way it evolves.

At this point of the album though, I understand we got away from the previous more practical song-writing and I admit I miss it, despite the reason being that the album grew as “space opera” in Eivør’s mind as she was composing it. I also regret the general lack of dynamism and this almost limp touch she got over time and “Lívsandin” illustrates it well. However I see this track as a perfect springboard for the incredible “Upp Úr Øskuni”. Described as “her metal moment”, I beg to differ from this statement as this is to me what she always had in her. It grew into a strong and impressive form thanks to all her experiences.

I actually never expected her album to ever be rock or metal in any way when I was witnessing her musical evolution and her enthronement to the metal world. It would have been too easy and I don’t think it is her, nor my, thinking. I was instead wondering how she would make her compositions work here, instead of her ever going to match any features or use our codes. I see a good potential in Enn and I think she got the best slot for her show at the Hellfest to do so. I’m looking forward to seeing her there.

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Header image: Sigga Ella

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