Without going too far into the whys and wherefores apparently French composer/producer Christophe Voisin-Boisvinet found three singers whose voices had ‘atypical timbres’. Nope, not sure myself and even less having listened to this. I do know he found three very good singers who work very well together, though, so we’ll go with that.
So what do we have? Well this is supposed to be a kind of reinvigoration of the skaldic tradition of poetry. I’m sure outside of a couple of Guardian arts pages readers the rest of the world is unaware that here on the fringes of extreme metal, or linked to it by spirit, it doesn’t need any re-invigorating. But on the other hand if you had visions of Wardruna or much less Heilung creeping across your thoughts then stop here. Slightly wrong tack.
This is a nicely produced album, lush without being smothering and it brings out the layers of voice, keyboard and drumming very well which is the basis for the album sound. Voices and drums overlap and entwine rhythmically, songs come and go in chants.
Yeah, sorry. Ok, fine. This owes a great deal more to Dead Can Dance, particularly Spiritchaser, than something like Wardruna. Using old Norse doesn’t in itself conjure the atmosphere of the Viking world and for me this is very much in the world music section of the CD rack or online genres rather than trying to reconnect with a Viking history. Put it this way, whilst their skill and talent wouldn’t put them out of place on a stage at Middgardsblot, they wouldn’t be an obvious choice for me. It’s that just that this doesn’t hold in any particular world for the most part, it doesn’t speak to me of mead halls or hard working farms or dangerous seas. None of the songs fill me with a yearning like Warduna, or a sense of awe like Heilung, they speak to me of skilled musicians and little more.
I can’t knock the idea or the vocal skills, but as an album no, I’m sorry, it does very little for me. From the looks of things fifteen thousand fans and one million viewers sorely disagree though so there you go.