Monday, January 3, 2011

Album Review: Odroerir - Laßt Euch Sagen Aus Alten Tagen...

Odroerir - Lasst Euch sagen aus alten Tagen...

Artist: Odroerir (Germany)
Album Title: Laßt Euch Sagen Aus Alten Tagen...
Record Label: Ars Metalli (Germany)
Released: 2002
Purchased From: Ebay (Red Stream)

In 1998, German pagan metal pioneers Menhir released the brief but beautiful Buchonia EP. A departure from their normal black metal style, Buchonia was basically a folk or folk rock EP, featuring mostly acoustic guitars, violin, Heiko's baritone vocals, and a female soprano vocalist. As of yet, Menhir has not revisited that style, with the exception of parts of Hildebrandslied. However, also in 1998, Menhir's drummer-turned-guitarist Fix formed a second band, Odroerir, who plays pagan/folk metal in a style similar to that heard on the Buchonia EP. Perhaps he was inspired to continue creating music in that vein after Menhir had gone back to their heavier style? Whatever the reason, I'm certainly glad Odroerir was formed, as they are a pretty remarkable and unique band.

Odroerir, circa 2002, consists of Fix on acoustic and electric guitars, vocals, and a reed instrument called a schalmei. Also on guitar, vocals, and schalmei is Stickel, whose baritone voice is so similar to that of Heiko (of Menhir) that, for a while, I assumed they were the same person. Yvonne handles soprano vocals, Philipp plays the drums, Ralph plays bass, and there's a guest violinist on a few tracks. The male and female vocals are often layered and harmonized, though not as often as on later albums. Acoustic guitar is quite prominent, and, though there are some lovely and melancholy guitar solos, the electric guitar just kind of chugs along much of the time, serving as a rhythmic backbone to the music. The melodies are often carried by the vocals, acoustic guitar, and occasional violin. Odroerir has a truly folk-like sensibility that gives them a unique, rural sound. They're not overly festive, and they're not the kind of band that a lot of people will shake plastic swords to. There are no epic keyboard sounds. Odroerir is a pretty serious band, an authentic band. Their blend of folk and metal is their own.

At this stage, the band still had some rough edges to work out (though it can be argued that the "rough edges" are a part of their charm), but tracks like "Salzschlacht" and "De exidio Thuringiae" hint at the greatness ahead. There is also at least one classic track on the album: "Iring," which is driven by the violin and a simple but catchy chorus. The band only flirts with black metal for a few brief moments on "Menosgada" and "De exidio Thuringiae." But if I were to be asked what specific style of metal Odroerir plays, I would be unable to give a satisfactory response. Is it power metal? Traditional metal? Doom metal? Not really... it's folk metal. It's Odroerir. You can't really pigeonhole them.

Of their three albums, Laßt Euch Sagen Aus Alten Tagen is by far the most difficult to find. I read somewhere (perhaps in an interview?) that the guy behind the label Ars Metalli disappeared with most of the copies of the CD, which means there could be several hundred of them sitting in an attic or basement somewhere in Germany. The band reissued the CD themselves several years later, but it was only available from the band and has also gone out of print. I obtained a near-mint copy of the original pressing thanks to Red Stream, but I've only seen it for sale that one time. Hopefully more copies will surface.

Compared to the later albums, I wouldn't say Laßt Euch Sagen Aus Alten Tagen is an essential pagan/folk metal album, but it's pretty solid and may be worth tracking down for those who can't get enough of the band after Götterlieder I and II.

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