In recent years there has seemingly been a healthy surge in acoustic neofolk outfits and although at face value this style may be a world apart from most metal outfits, the genre has been adopted by large swathes of the metal community. On closer inspection, this isn’t too surprising, particularly with bands basing themselves around Nordic culture where there are obvious crossovers into the metal world.
While Ohio may not be an obvious birthplace for a band of this ilk, Osi and the Jupiter are one such outfit. Based around northern pagan beliefs and “worship of the old gods” this is their latest EP/single consisting of two tracks ‘Grå Hest’ and ‘Autumn’. While percussion and keys are prominent in the sound, equally important is the talharpa (all from the project’s mastermind Sean Kratz) with cello support from Kakophonix.
The first of two tracks is ‘Grå Hest’, which narrates part of the ancient Völsunga saga, specifically where Siegfried meets up with Odin and how Grani becomes Siegfried’s steed. Appropriately this is a tranquil piece where ritualistic rhythms and beats become hypnotic, forming a foundation for subtle echoed vocal lines which create an enthralling yet haunting atmosphere. The flip side of the EP, ‘Autumn’, is a serene piano synth passage which is captivating although minimalistic in its approach.
It would be easy to have this EP playing somewhere in the background and for it to wash over you without really making any impact but this is not how it is intended. This music should be given your full attention and allowed to completely permeate, and in doing so it will reveal itself fully.
This is a seductive piece of work that definitely piqued my interest and left me wanting more, and as a precursor to the ‘Nordlige Rúnaskog’ album (which is set for release in the Autumn), the Grå Hest EP has done its job.
(8/10 Andy Pountney)