Introductions over, come on a journey into the dark woods of the vast hinterland of Norway, venturing through strange eerie lands and visiting the dark corners of the soul. There is a myth being created here and this album will transport you to a place that is compelling and scary at the same time. This is not background music.
Starting with the title track and on through the following two pieces there is a sense of forboding conveyed by the music, with some gorgeous instrumentation. The fourth track In The Woods allows a brief respite, the sound of a babbling brook in the background, then it is back on the trail, mellotrons painting dark skies to the fore. Sixth track Forcing has a Nordic classical vibe and some great guitar, leading to album highlight for me, Frozen which crashes through the moss covered ancient woodland on a mission, climaxing with some fine guitar mangling. Throughout the album Daniel's strong vocals add just the right amount of emotion, teetering just the right side of strained.
The sound is full, clean and well produced, and there is so much going on here that it will take a few spins to fully appreciate the intricacies of this fine recording. According to the biog, the instruments on this waxing, apart from the usual guitar, bass, drums, are mellotrons (to the fore!), kantele, dulcimer, mandolin, sallowflute, mouth harp, conch, accordion, and bells, and effects contributed using saws, grindstone, kettle, barrels, axe, and hammers! So perhaps you can see why this album cannot be taken in on one listen.
The band's stated aim is to merge the epic storytelling of Norwegian folk music with heavy sounds, and they have achieved that with some style on this fine album.
1. In The Mist Of Morning
3. Mysterious Ways
4. In The Woods
8. The Tide
9. Make Me Believe
10. Elegy Epilogue
Daniel "Solur" Solheim - Vocal, Guitar, Keyboard, Samples, Kantele, Dulcimer, Mandolin, Sallowflute, Mouthharp, Conch, Axe and Hammer.
Ketil Armand "Bergur" Berg - Drums, Percussion, Kantele, Saw, Accordion, Hammer, Bells, Voices, Grindstone, Kettles and Barrels.
Knud Jarle "Strandur" Strand - Bass and Business.
Jostein Aksel Skjønberg - Keyboard, Voice, Flute
Guro Elvik Strand - Guitar, Keyboards
Also in the band at the time the album was recorded was Sissel Os on Keyboards, Samples and Choir, and guest vocals were contributed by Agnethe Kirkevaag of Madder Mortem.
Buy it from Karisma Records
3 out of 5