(8/10) There are some records that are just exciting to listen to because they demand quite something from you as the listener; records that develop existing sounds further, that are demanding and still approachable.
"Skuggsjá" is one of those longplayers that are thrilling because they offer you a great possibility to dive into new soundscapes that are mind-blowing.
But let's start at the beginning. You might know the names of the two main guys behind this album. Ivar Bjørnson is guitarist and composer of Norwegian Enslaved, while Einar Selvik is the creative mind of Wardruna. The two guys have been the curators of 2015th Roadburn festival in Tilburg which included special shows of both bands - Enslaved and Wardruna.
The next fruitful output of this duo is the album we're taliing about in this review. "Skuggsjá" is the name of this longplayer, a Norwegian word that means ' mirror' or 'reflection'. Nomen et omen in this context since this longplayer reflects the Norwegian inheritage very well when it comes to language, poetry and instruments.
This album can be seen as metallized progressive folk rock that includes harsh guitars ("Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid") next to almost forgotten old Scandianvian instruments. But also when it comes to the vocals things get pretty exciting. Starting with narrative style vocals ("Intro: Ull Kjem") the album includes as well fragile and beautiful female vocals, all this being completed by almost blackened metal screams here and there. In the end it's four persons sharing the vocal duties - Bjørnson, Selvik, Grutle Kjellson and Lindy-Fay Hella.
This album is more than just a record. "Skuggsjá" sets the Norwegian heritage to music in such a way that the listener almost gets the impression of being part of this exciting moment in time. This longplayer combines musical experience, endless passion and emotional depth to a pretty unique listening experience which demands time. Take your time and dive into the world of "Skuggsjá".
- Intro: Ull Kjem
- Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid
- Tore Hund
- Rop Fra Røynda - Mælt Fra Minne
- Skuggeslåtten (instrumental)
- Bøn Om Ending, Bøn Om Byrjing
- Outro: Ull Gjekk
- Skaldens Song Til Tore Hund (Bonus tracks deluxe Digipak)
- Quantum Pasts (Rop Frå Røynda - Bardspec Ed) (Bonus tracks deluxe Digipak)
Label: Season Of Mist
Genre: Pagan Metal
Release Date EU: March 11th, 2016