In light of their most recent album, Runaljod – Ragnarok,Wardruna went on a European tour, playing two sold-out shows at Tivoli Vreedenburg in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Ghost Cult journalists Suzanne A. Maathuis and Lorraine Lysen went to Utrecht on Sunday the 30th of November to find out more about the latest album and some of the academic background of the project from Einar Selvik of Wardruna. He is also participating in this weekend’s New York By Norse event in partnership with Enslaved’s 25th year celebration. Einar talked with us about songwriting, the Rune Trilogy, Norse history and lore, the next Wardruna album, and much more.Continue reading →
Wardruna’s Runaljod – Ragnarok (Indie Recordings/Norse Music), the cataclysmic end-of-the-world event of Norse mythology, is the third album in the “Runaljod” trilogy, following Gap var Ginnunga (Indie Recordings/Fimbulljóð Productions), the yawning void that existed before creation began, and Yggdrasil Indie Recordings /Fimbulljóð Productions, 2013), the tree of knowledge that spans the world. The title of the trilogy is Runaljod, rune-song or spell, and the runes of the elder fuþark, the rune-row or alphabet used in Germanic lands from roughly 100-700 AD, compose the overarching theme on all three albums. Continue reading →
The Norse gods are watching over London as ambient folk metal band Wardruna arrive to perform on UK soil for the first time. With the unfortunate departure of Steindór Andersen and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson from the support slot on the bill, the challenge was left to From TheBogs Of Aughiska. Having described themselves as the musical equivalent of standing atop the majestic Cliffs Of Moher with a gale force wind in your face, it was certainly music with impact. The low droning rumble concealed vast soundscapes that struggled and blossomed into audibility before melting back down into the murk. Their choice to wear black face masks while performing diminished any chance of a connection with the performers, forcing the audience to fully engage with the music. This was not about personality but truly focused on sonically documenting the power of nature and Irish folklore. My only criticism would be the volume of the performance was too low to appreciate the full majesty of their sound.
Right from the first beat, the hairs on the back of my neck are on edge and shivers are running the course of my spine as Wardruna begin to play. For a short time the dark theatre, leather seats, and audience transform into vast forests, crystal lakes and imposing mountain edges. The soundscapes created by this band using old and traditional instrumentation alongside the sounds of nature are positively tribal, a reminder of old spirituality more in connection with the trees and the land. Starting off with songs of their first album, Gap Var Ginnunga they work from older to newer pieces building up from the calmer tracks to the more dramatically performed songs off Yggdrasil. Again, a choice by the band to perform in all black costumes allowed for the music to be the real focus of the piece, although splashes of drama were added through lighting for the more climatic moments. Wardruna is a truly unique experience live, leaving me emotionally exhausted through the sheer power of their performance. As the final noise fades, the voice of the gods recedes and we are left as we began, back in the darkened theatre and our leather seats.