Runaljod - Yggdrasil

Written by: EW on 16/05/2013 23:30:40

In the four years since the release of their debut "Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga", the Norwegian folk/ambient collective Wardruna have taken on almost mythical quality that has led to the release of this, their second album, being an eagerly awaited musical experience for many fans, myself included. No doubt benefitting through the inclusion of the (in)famous Gaahl in the line-up, "Gap Var…" possessed a staggering self-confidence that more than allowed it's harmonious might to stand proud regardless of band member histories. To this day it is an album I profess to still being in love with and now with "Runaljod - Yggdrasil" to pore over and an UK debut show later this year it is very much time to abscond myself from this modern urbanised world and attempt a spiritual transportation to the historical and runic realms within which Wardruna dwell.

What makes Wardruna such a pleasurable listen is the poetic warmth generated through the sole usage of traditional instrumentation. I read in the notes that various outdoor locations have been used in the recording and through the depth of sound and emotion that can be so evidently heard in "NaudiR", to pick one example, it helps bring the great Norwegian outdoors to whatever location one chooses to listen in. The usage of extensive historic instrumentation such as primitive deer-hide frame drums, kravilyra, tagelharpe and goat horn give a richness to the recording that is quite simply plainly absent from the synth based 'folk' recordings that grace many a metal band. Once the choral section of opener "Rotlaust Tre Fell" kicks in the ease with which I find myself overcome by spiritual depth is astonishing, especially so for I being he of little faith. Multiple song openings feature the sounds of real running water, real snow being trampled under foot and real gushing wind to demonstrate an attachment to Mother Earth that proffers none of the kitsch or cheese popular with less intrinsically involving acts who one finds are more inclined to simply pipe out equivalent sound effects.

As part of the ongoing trilogy exploring the 24 runes of the elder futhark "Yggdrasil" is best viewed as a 66 minute whole rather than an album of 11 separate songs. The lyrics which are written in Norwegian, Old Norse and Proto-Norse are plainly beyond the comprehension of surely all but their creator but that matters little; it can safely assumed that the musical depth will be matched by the words being spoken.

What Wardruna do is not meant for singular digestion of tracks, which to the ADD generation of music listeners coming through could be problematic. But, those capable of revelling in the soundscapes and veritable depth that pours from these recordings will become richer people for the experience - for absorbing the smell of the campfire, the cold rain and the burning incense of artistic juices that so please me and, by the acclaim afforded these reclusive Norwegians, a whole lot others. Grading seems rather pointless, but for what it's worth:

Download: NA
For The Fans Of: Fejd, Blood of the Black Owl
Listen: Website

Release date: 15.03.2013
Indie Recordings

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