Wardruna recently went on tour to promote their latest album, Ragnarok (By Norse), the last in the Runaljod trilogy. After selling out the seated hall for Tuesday night, an extra show was planned for Saturday night in one of the standing venues of the building. Having sold out this evening as well, the band was greeted warmly by over a thousand enthusiasts.
The show incorporates a brilliant use of light and shadow from the very beginning, with the impressive set of bronze lures silhouetted against the light backdrop. Throughout the performance the lighting, which is often quite dark, augments the mystic atmosphere created by the synergy between musicians and audience. Where the acoustics of the theatre led to a superior quality of sound on Tuesday, this iteration had the crowd on their feet and moving, creating a very different and intense atmosphere.
From percussion, through horns and whistles, to the violin and taglharpe, the musicianship is excellent, and the vocals are no less spectacular. Einar Selvik varies from deep growls to clear and delicate, with sections of high and strong, while Lindy-Fay performs impressive feats of musicianship, sometimes at a considerable distance from the microphone. But one of Wardruna’s strongest features is the ensemble singing, blending the varied vocal qualities in an effective and powerful equilibrium.
In light of their recent album, it was to be expected that most songs in the show are the newer ones, but a few older songs are also brought out, to further delight of the audience. ‘Fehu’ always brings out audience participation, but the trance-like state of ‘Algir – Stein Klarnar’ surpassed even that. Exceptional in its intensity was ‘Heimta Thurs’, which ended with lightning effects forming a magnificent shadow pattern, accompanied by a piercing scream from Lindy-Fay. All in all, it was certainly a night to remember.
WORDS BY LORRAINE LYSEN