Although the art form itself is centuries old, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in music using ancient Scandinavian instruments to recreate traditional atmospheres and to reconnect with ancient Nordic roots while still looking to the future. If you have read this far, you will probably be familiar with bands such as Wardruna and Forndom, and if you have enjoyed these then I highly recommend that you give this a listen.

Fedrespor is the work of Norwegian mastermind Varg Torden Saastad, who I believe is the sole artist responsible for this release, and follows on from the debut release ‘Tid’. Through the use of traditional Norse instruments and sombre, impassioned vocals with rustic harmonies he has created a stunning piece of Nordic folk.

The album opens with ‘Dom’, a short soundscape intro which creates the atmosphere of a crackling fire with the howls of wolves just audible in the distance leading into the title track (which translates to ‘From a Cradle in the Mountain’) which has a simple melody and beguiling vocals which are impossible to resist. ‘Kunsten av Liv’ carries on the theme with an effective spoken word intro over an acoustic piece leading into mesmerising, distant but powerful vocals and what sounds to be a horn, soon joined by percussion and other instruments creating a powerful almost anodyne passage of Nordic traditional folk.

The album continues with an evocative, almost forlorn atmosphere based around hypnotic melodies and anguished vocals until ‘Vekst’ sees a subtle change with the atmosphere somehow seeming a little more hopeful leading, perhaps fitting for the song title which I believe translates to ‘Growth’.

‘Lengselens Morgenrøde’ is a peaceful string instrumental passage, and continues the feeling of renewed hope and almost feels like the breaking of a new dawn. ‘Stien’ follows with sublime keys and chanted vocals creating a haunting outro for the album.

The overall effect of this album is mesmerising – The soundscapes and timbres create an intimate atmosphere which draw you in on a personal level, and in many ways this is as intense as any battering extreme metal release. Yes, I’m biased as I am a huge fan of this style of music but believe me this is up there with the best and if you have even a passing interest, you should give this a listen.

(9/10 Andy Pountney)