(CD, Indie Recordings, 2013)
The beauty of Metal is its ability to adopt different styles, elements and cultures and create something different perfect for those metalheads who have a wide listening view without genre-specific filters. And this is the reason for having the so-called experimental or ambient bands that push the envelope so hard that well-prepared ears are required to really understand what is happening. This exactly the case with the second album coming from Norway’s WARDRUNA who spent almost four years on the making of the second part of the planned “Runaljod” trilogy that deals with the 24 runes of the runic alphabet named Elder Futhark. I am not a Norse mythology scholar so I cannot get into the details (not even to scratch the surface) but I think talking about runes is the perfect subject for the atmosphere of “Yggdrasil”.
First of all, let me tell you (or warn, if you prefer) that “Yggdrasil” is not a Metal album and that means there are no guitars, drums or bass at least in the traditional format/form. On the other hand, this means that this album is Folk to the bone... WARDRUNA use exclusively ancient Nordic music instruments and I guess this is why the History Channel included some of their music in the latest TV-series “Vikings” (by the way, this is an extremely well made series although the story is rather naïve and shallow). Anyway, the music is the definition of ambience taking the determined listener on a trip to North Scandinavia to roam in an ancient virgin forest on a quest of his primitive self.
The melody of “Rotlaust Tre fell” is amazingly delivered by the multiple vocal harmonies while in the background the percussion instruments create the archaic veil that covers the entire album. The violin-sounding tunes in “Fehu” and “IngwaR” add a hearty Epic layer that I am sure will give birth to images of Longships in the middle of stormy seas carrying the determined Vikings to find new shores to plunder... (yeah, there is nothing romantic or in - some extent - heroic on this...) To enhance even more the degree of realism WARDRUNA have recorded some tracks outdoors so the nature’s sound really do the trick here like in tracks “AnsuR” or “IngwaR” during which I swear I felt the chilling humidity from the Norse forest hitting my face...
Like I said, this is not your everyday Metal album so take my words seriously if you don’t want to face a huge disappointed for not getting your Metal hunger fed. But if you like this almost movie soundtrack music and have a wild imagination, then grab this one, put your high quality headphones and get ready to sail to unknown seas that will challenge your spirit strength.
01. Rotlaust Tre fell
Kvitrafn - All instruments, Vocals, Samples, Lyrics
Gaahl - Vocals
Lindy Fay Hella - Vocals
Erlend Gjerde - Drums, Percussion