Wardruna – Runaljod - Ragnarok

  Van Muylem    10 december 2016

Wardruna will perform as headliner during the Trolls et Légendes in Mons (on sunday) and recently they launched their newest album, time for a review, in preparation for the interview:

Wardruna plays dark folk, using traditional instruments and presenting us lyrics in Old Norse. Einar Selvik is a multi-instrumentalist and has a great voice, next to him is also Kristian Eivind Espedal (vocals) and Lindy Fay Hella (female vocals). This album is also the end of a trilogy that started in 2009 with Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga, in 2013 Runaljod - Yggdrasiland now Runaljod - Ragnarok.

Tyr is the first track and has an hypnotic sound, together with the vocals it comes pretty close to the sound of the legendary duo Dead Can Dance. Týr is a Germanic god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Giving this info reveals also the direction we are taking. The marching sound almost says we are going to die or to a big battle, to set things straight (but ok: that is my imagination). UruR blows the horns, whilst the drums makes us march (almost hypnotized), slowly the vocals appear. It feels like a snake that noticed some food: slowly getting there and preparing for an attack. Isa means in Estonian father, but I have no clue if it fits the lyrics here. The sound floats a bit, gently weeping. The traditional instrument and the chants gives it something warm, melodic and enchanting. MannaR – Drivande has an Indian touch and a sacred feel. I hear some water, as if we are in a boat, drifting. MannaR – Liv sounds onwards the end more and more like a classical Dead Can Dance track: powerful and creating a world of their own!

You get sucked into it and forget about the outside world! It’s an incredible and very strong feeling with the vocals and percussion! Raido sounds very emotional as the vocals are like grasping for your throat. The female vocals gives it something sweeter and thus reminds me even stronger Dead Can Dance. It feels like a late night reunion of a legendary band. Towards the tempo rises with a bombastic feel. This might be the perfect end track for their gig. Pertho is more into ancient chants, Nordic folks around a campfire with one leading the bunch of Vikings. The acoustic guitar is a nice extra. Odal has even children singing a-long and just as the choir: it gives this song something powerful and unique! I also hear some melancholia in it. Wunjo als has children singing, whilst the horn blows, the flute sharpens the sound and the percussion rises up the tempo. I like this track very much and can’t wait to see it getting performed on stage. Runaljod is not only the title track, it’s also the last track on this beautiful album. We get a smooth ending with all the vocals coming together creating an energetic whirlwind. The violin and the percussion play an important role.

I think this band might be for a lot of people a discovery, but I’m pretty sure they won’t be disappointed! I loved them and can’t wait to see them on stage!

More info about Trolls et Légendes:

Trolls et Legendes website

Interview with Didier Cz about the festival

interview with Skeptical Minds

interview with Alain Poncelet

interview with Acus Vacuum

album review Hano-ah

album review Ithilien

album review Ithilien NL

album review The Dolmen