Originally forming back in 2001, Fejd, which traslates to “feud”, is a Folk Metal act from Sweden. Since that time, the band has only issued two full-lengths, including this one, aside an EP and two demos, all of which have received much praise from the metal community. Eifur marks the second full-length effort, and pretty much continues where the band left off. However, this album is not quite as strong as the band’s previous material, and that all seems to deal mostly with the production quality of the album.
Eifur is not at all a bad album. Musically, it’s a strong album that suits the whole Folk atmosphere well, composed of strong material that is well executed and feeds into the overall ambience thanks to the more Folk instrument sound, and the soft singing voice, all of which seem to place you back to the days of minstrels and the beliefs of spirits in the forest. However, while this may be a strong release, the production quality isn’t as strong as it could be. The music here isn’t quite as powerful and one would expect, sounding a little hollow in comparison. While it does enhance the ambince a bit with the overall quality of the recording, the problem is that the instruments really sound dull, coming off as soft as the vocalist, which isn’t a good thing for this release. While the vocals definitely carry a traditional Folk attitude, the instruments just can’t carry the voice, so in the long run the album really comes down to certain tracks that have a lot going on to support the vocals, such as “Alvas Halling”, an instrumental track which features a stronger Folk performance through the instruments then some tracks, or songs that seem to be carried by the vocalist nicely, such as “Farsot”, which has a chorus that is simply haunting and ushers in a sens of pride through the performance that is given. Of course, there are just tracks where the music seems to suffer drastically, such as the beginning of “Arv”, which features some fast paced music that, in the end, doesn’t really stand out until it slows down to a haunting atmosphere with the vocalist chiming in, presenting a more epic feel to the song as it progresses.
Outside the the somewhat hollow production, the album is quite enjoyable. Musically, there is no denying that this is genuine Folk music without any gimmicks or hooks. Of course, the traditional Folk instruments are presented in the music, pretty much replacing the common electric guitar completely. Of course, the bass is still present, but there are various other instruments brought in such as bagpips, harps, the hurdy-gudie, recorder, and more, all of which gives off the perfect atmosphere for Eifur to make it a serious Folk release. Eifur also goes between a slow to mid-tempo pace through pretty much the entire album, but given how the only instruments of the album really sound full are the drums, and even that’s a stretch, it’s actually a good thing since the faster moments just don’t work out that well in the long run. Of course, the instrumental tracks seem to be a little more powerful, and that is more then likely due to the fact that the vocalist of this group handles just about all the Folk-related instruments, which allows for a little more complexity in the music itself. Either way it works out nice. A mentioned, “Alvas Halling” makes for a great song that really pushes the album along, and the instrumental “Trollfard” is a song that will quickly engross the listener, as well as makes for a fitting closing to the album.
Out of all the material, many of the tracks manage to stand out on their own. However, the track “Farsot” is basically the main track off the album. This song is perhaps the strongest of them all, with a heavier musical approach that sounds great when coupled with the softer clean singing and the haunting chorus that adds in a nice little epic atmosphere to the song, almost like what one would expect from a Viking Metal-oriented release, or even off an early Tyr album. However, this is perhaps the only track that genuinely stands out to the point where you will be searching to hit repeat. The rest of the album is still grand, such as the following “Jungfru I Hindhamn”, which truly captures the more forest-based Folk sound that many bands try to give off. “Gryning” also makes for a good song that has some great music going on, especially with some faint Folk instruments in the background that may make you think you’re crazy for hearing them.
If Eifur had a stronger production quality to it, perhaps a little more clear or louder then it is, then it would be a great album. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, but the somewhat raw, less-powerful souding quality does manage to enhance the atmosphere of the album, which was more then likely the intent all along, so it comes as a win/lose situation. It would be hard to sit down and listen to this album and picture a better production quality to it, though it’s something one might long for deep in their hearts. This true Folk album is very well done, though sometimes can sound a little weak for whatever reason it may be. Other then that, there’s nothing too powerful or emotionally moving about the album, but instead, it’s full of well done Folk music without gimmicks, bringing in a laid back, yet strong performance that pays great homage to the proper time periods outlined in the music and lyrical content.