From the outside looking in, the neofolk scene can seem painfully austere and humourless not to mention the odd troupe here and there flirting with dodgy ideology, unfairly tarnishing the rest. Remind you of any other genre? Being so different sonically it is easy to overlook what close bedfellows neofolk and black metal can be and being a bit of an outsider to neofolk I was actually pretty keen to get my hands on this.
Weh is a one man project from Erik E and he has worked with members of Windir and Vreid in the past if you want further proof.
Following on from an extensive collection of demos on the double CD Origins, the first thing that touches you about Eb Natt Kom Doed is the crystal sharp production. Essential to this style I guess, it is still lovely to hear every strike of the string and roll of the voice brought to your ear so clearly.
Musically this is dark and delicate stuff but no less intense for all that fragility and as sombre as a funeral shroud. Mostly Weh use plain sung vocals with acoustic guitar accompaniment with a frugal but sweetly judged use of keyboards when needed. It’s probably a reference well before most of your times, but there is also a deep vein of the great Leonard Cohen to the intimate resigned and regretful tone of the vocals and the excellent partnership Erik E has between these and the guitar notes. Sometimes they move together, sometimes apart but always they compliment. It is a performance of restrained but effortless grace, a fine waltz through some bleak Nordic scenery and legend.
Lyrics are sometimes in English but even these are a little dense for me to truly penetrate for a deadline but they seem rich with mythic references and a yearning for those times as well as an awareness of how they contrast with the modern world. But for all that awareness this is very much an album shrouded by it’s own ghosts and the past.
Songs such as the regret ridden Testament Of Time stretch back into the mists and create a stillness for the words to be heard that is every bout as effective as the best that viking metal has to offer. Simply a different style and a different way to touch your spirit and make out stir.
Every song does indeed stand on its own here, whilst having it’s place in the whole, but with its sparse mournful keyboard refrain, the insistent guitar chords and the soft moan haunting the vocals, The Unborn always hits me hardest. It is evocative and sinister, a warning perhaps of being careful for the things you pray for and to. “With no breath they ride…” he warns and you can’t help but see them in that moment. Quite wonderful what such simple, dark music can do to the mind.
At just a little over half an hour long, this never comes close to stretching your patience. Instead it leaves you with memories as crisp and brittle, sharp as fresh frost on a branch. It leaves you wanting total silence when the last sigh of Helvete has passed, time to yourself to take it all in. It is music in total command and mesmeric in its atmosphere.
Step into the quiet. Its closer to you than you think and twice as beautiful.