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wardruna firstflightofthewhiteraven
Artist: Wardruna
Title: First Flight Of The White Raven
Genre: Norse / World Music / Neo Folk / Metal / Black Metal / Ambient
Release Date: 10th June 2022
Label: By Norse Music / Sony Music / Columbia Records


Album Review

Like many artists and bands over the past two years, WARDRUNA had to curtail their touring activities and retreat back to barracks. I’m sure during that time they went for many long walks, read plenty of books, indulged in other hobbies that prior to lockdown were not given the time and focus they should have been given. Along with other activities they spent time in the recording studio creating new poetry and stories set to music and as much as possible kept the musical skills honed and sharpened in readiness for the removal of the plague chains.

On the 22nd January last year the album ‘The White Raven’ was released. I reviewed that album for this publication and I looked forward to its release. Over the space of a week, I held off from putting fingers to keyboard so I could let the music and its spell seep into my pores, a tactic that I think was prudent. The album was supposed to be released during 2020 but ‘The Plague’ put a spanner in those plans hence the latter release. I stated in that review that ‘Kvitravn’ was an album that was a progression from the rune series and a lot of meaning can be seduced from the limits of ancient instruments.

There’s complexity in simplicity etc. ‘The First Flight Of The White Raven’ is an album of over an hour's duration that takes the listener on a journey through all the soundscapes and complex simplicity of all the albums. It was recorded for a paid live stream on the 26th of March last year and is presented within the upcoming CD / DVD / Vinyl releases as it was recorded, with no retakes of imperfect segments, there’s no post editing or auto tuning to spruce things up. It’s the raw performance, warts and all in all its organic glory sans engineered jiggery pokery!

This was raw and in-the-buff, the performance attempted to retain as much of the live magic as possible without the close and direct contact with an audience. An audience could not feel the music in the room coming from the source, see them in the flesh or smell the various scents and aromas intermingling in the air as if in a molecular dance of dominance. WARDRUNA could not experience the instant feedback from hundreds of bodies there in front of them. No, the magic here had to be remembered from past live experience or summoned anew  from within. Both the virtual audience and performer had to create another kind of magic that was bridged by distance. What I did before pressing the play button was to prepare my mind by emptying it of all pointless mess.

I lit candles and incense and created a space where I could subsume myself into the experience as much as possible and allow my creative mind to fill in the gaps. Last year I had to have a few hospital appointments over Zoom. It was not the same as being in the room with the Dr I had difficulty looking at the camera and expressing myself in the way I would have done in person. I could not adapt. In the context of experiencing ‘First Flight Of The White Raven’ it was easier because I was not doing any talking. I could focus on the performance and building the scene, conjuring up a psychic audience, feel the soundwaves hitting my being and sending shivers down my spine. What this album does is innervate the imagination, it’s a catalyst that helps communication of an incorporeal kind.

The album starts with the crash of waves and the caw of the white raven. The male and female voices were counterpointed and weaving. ‘Skugge’ broods and ‘Gra’ enthrals the power of nature and healthy respect for it whilst ‘Vindavlarjod’ invokes the windy slopes of steep sided fjords and subtle “taking off” qualities. In amongst these tracks from ‘Kvitravn’ the open stance delivery of ‘Raido’ from ‘Ragnarok’ and then ‘Voluspa’ from the album ‘Skald’ with its sparse resonance, the same phrase plucked over again and again along with pleading vocals that rise and fall around the instrumentation, both in sinewy unison.

Within ‘Isa’ Lindy Fay Hella’s delicate vocals, like gossamer being exhaled, start the proceedings like the song of a Siren before diving down an octave. Drums punching holes as voices elevate, Einar’s voice like a thicker rope sawing itself through the air as thinner strands, just as strong, caress around it! ‘Urur’ the rune of strength, masculinity and femininity, mental strength and fertility does its thing of punching holes in the air as string is bowed and horn blown. The sound mesmerises and undermines an enemy on the battlefield but fortifies yourself for glory!

The thing is, I can never have enough of WARDRUNA! They are a tonic, a magical potion that keeps me fortified and ready for my day ahead. They sooth for a good night’s sleep. They complement the night images and the voices that accompany through the day! There is power through humility! That which is powerful does not have to command or demand attention, it gets it! I am glad that WARDRUNA inhabits the world I inhabit! Because what I get out of WARDRUNA is organic, authenticity stripped down to the essentials and that allows thoughts, feelings and ideas to breathe without artifice blocking up the pipes!

Anyways, if you’d like to get your hands on some form of this loveliness you don’t have to wait much longer. On June 10th WARDRUNA release the ‘First Flight Of The White Raven’ on double CD / double LP and DVD. You can pre order on the band’s website. The album was set for an April 22nd release but due to production issues that has been put back. Still, there’s not long to wait for you to get your hands on this gem, patience my friends, patience!


Tracklist

01. Kvitravn
02. Skugge
03. Solringen
04. Bjarkan
05. Raido
06. Voluspa
07. Isa
08. UruR
09. Gra
10. Vindavlarjod
11. Rotlaust Tre Fell
12. Fehu
13. Helvegen


Line-up

Einar Selvik - Words, Vocals, Kravik Lyre, Trossingen Lyre, Langeleik,Goat Horn, Lur, Flute
Lindy Fay Hella - Vocals and songwriting
Eilif Gundersen - Lurs, Buckhorn and Gjallarhorn
Katrine Stenbekk - Vocals
John Stenersen - Mora-Harp
Arne Sandvoll - Percussion


Website

www.wardruna.com


Cover Picture

wardruna firstflightofthewhiteraven


Rating

Music: 9
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10


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