In a slight branching off for Elektro Vox, I am going to write articles on the other half of my music heart.. Nordic and 'Viking' era inspired music. I soon plan to write an in depth look in to the strong connection industrial music fans also have towards Nordic music and the Aesir and Vanir polytheism; As well as the Animism both cultures display in different ways.
There are so far four short episodes to do with the nature and inspiration behind KVITRAVN, the first of which you can see here:
For me Wardruna is not about empty rituals or reciting the past or empty symbols. That doesn't carry any meaning any more. It's about giving voice to the thoughts and ideas that we still have use for; They still carry the same relevance as they did when they were a living tradition. I make music for those who are here and now and not as a form of escapism. - Einar episode IV
We are very happy to finally share this long-overdue album with you all. In this past period leading up to the release, it has been truly overwhelming to see how well you have received the songs we have shared so far. We sincerely hope you will enjoy the rest! For me personally, this album represents a natural continuation and development of everything we have done so far. Through experience, reflection and hungry curiosity, we potentially continue to grow as humans, scholars and musicians and with this constant movement, our ability to dive deeper into our work also grows. More clearly than before, does this album and its songs address us as humans in our own time. And even though the songs convey ways and words originating from a distant past, they are still just as much ways and words for the “now”. They are ideas born out of the very grounds we still tread, which is also what gives them the ability to speak to and resonate within us still. Let us listen carefully, and sow or reaffirm the idea or attitude that nature is something sacred.
This album will be so very familiar with fans of Wardruna and of course the History channel show 'Vikings'. Einar having written a lot of the music for the show and for Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. Many of the songs and melodies having been used in the Vikings TV show or played out in a similar fashion in previous Wardrunna releases.
To this effect the entire album draws you in like a Siren's call. Each track feels well known to you and yet so new that your mind craves to hear more. It is hard to gauge space and time once you settle in to the living history weaving its way through your entire being. When I first listened to this in its entirety I was in a candle lit bath with the steam producing swirling images dancing to the tales being sung. Imagination was not hard to stretch with such a profound and enthralling soundscape.
Now as I finally sit down to put some semblance of justice in to the words of this review I look out upon a snow storm and feel the same connection to the Gods, myself, and the spirit of all things around me that this album invokes.
'Synkverv' is a more haunting direction than we are used to with Wardruna but sets this album up for the mysteries of the listener own self and the knowledge within the music that one with an open mind might hope to find. Although the tracks are not sung in English of course, (Norwegian) the lyrical expression of the music still caries through and the following lyrics encompass that overall feel for the album:
The harp plays Luring and drawing Winding you in In an imaginary spin Woven and tied Switched in a poem-spindle Desire for knowledge Playing in your mind Tones themselves Playing in your eyes Mistruths and lies Lure you in
With the title track Kvitravn (White Raven) we find a journey all unto itself. From the deep ambient horns, the resonant lyre, to the choral depths, and Einar's and Lind-Fay's pure emotion provoking vocal talent; This track has all of the hallmarks that Wardruna is loved for.
Be it intentional or not, As we later have a song titled 'Munin' which sings about Hugin and Munin (Odin's Ravens Thought and Memory) both, I find myself drawn toward the meaning of the album as a whole in that we should all be more thoughtful of our place in the world and our impact. Such a striking image to visualise Hugin (Thought) as the white raven in the artwork and music video, and therefore reflect on our own thoughts when listening.
KVITRAVN music video
Which leads us to 'Skugge' which is possibly my favourite track on the album. It brings out that primal urge to fight and stamp out injustice.