Wardruna – Kvitravn (Sony)

  Van Muylem    1 februari 2021

Wardruna is hot nowadays! The Viking series helped a lot, just as their great gigs, but lately a video game (Assasins Creed Valhalla) came in and launched the newest album already into the charts! For a band that brings historic pagan music back to life (with new interpretations), using as much as possible original instruments and looking for real historic stories it’s a huge accomplishment!

With what Wardruna has achieved you can now stop comparing them to Dead Can Dance as soon enough people know who they are and what they stand for! It’s their 5th album and this one refers to the white raven. Another thing that I heard during the pre-launch activities is that Lyrically, “Kvitravn” (White Raven) deals with the esoteric areas of sorcery, spirit animals, nature and the relation in between the sage and the song.

Now let’s go the the music: Synkverv. Old instruments, harmonised vocals (backed by Lindy-Fay Hella’s voice) and a strange language (at least to me). It all sounds very hypnotizing! Kvitravn (White Raven), the album title track, has already been launched as a video/single. The strings sounds like as if they hypnotize you (together with the vocals). Skugge (Shadow) builds up slowly and seems to call up inner demons. The music strongly reminds me of some passages I still remember from The Vikings Series.Grá (Grey) starts with Einar on vocals but gets backed by the beautiful voice of Lindy-Fay Hella.Fylgjutal (Speech of the Fylgja) is a more up-tempo but yet very hypnotising track. Einar’s voice gets deeply into your heart and soul, just like on stage. Munin gets a lot of attention from an instrument with strings and Einar vocals. The song is a soundscape: like water running from a hill towards a lake. Kvit hjort (White Stag) starts with a horn (almost sounds like the one Wardruna uses to open their shows, at least when I saw them on stage). It has a melancholic sound.Viseveiding (Song-hunting) is a very impressive song with lots of different kind of vocals. It’s a slow grower with an haunting feel. You can hear a lot of details and different sounds all over the song. I can say it’s a very elaborated one, very overwhelming even! Ni gets a lot of vocals in the front, harmonised, powerful but yet discrete. It’s a short and calm song. Vindavlarjod gets a fragile voice (Einars’), guided by an old instrument with strings. Andvevarljod (Song of the Spirit-weavers) is the last track and continues with ethereal feeling (coming from the previous tracks). It’s also the longest song on this album (just over 10-minutes). Andvevarljod is a plea to the nine Norns, what has been captured within the music created here. You also hear guest vocals of Kirsten Bråten Berg and her daughter Sigrid.

It’s an impressive album with great vocals, well worked out and nice instruments. I only had a stream and missed the booklet and thus a wider background. Knowing more about it all helps a lot. Reviewing this album track by track is a bit hard, as the album needs a one go listening party and a repeat all. Dive into their world and listen to it very loud or with headphones on! It’s a beauty and I can’t wait to see them on stage again! We’ll see in 2022!