Exciting news from the gaming world as world-renowned musician and composer Einar Selvik of Wardruna is working on the score to the upcoming game Assasin’s Creed Valhalla, due out in time for the holidays, 2020. Selvik announced he would co-compose the score, alongside the game’s composers Sarah Schachner and Jesper Kyd. Metal fans who gravitate to all things Norse will love the new game’s direction. In addition to Wardruna and collaborative projects with Enslaved’s Ivar Bjornson, original music by Selvik and Wardruna have both been used on History’s Channel’s hit series Vikings, which Einar is a composer on. He has also appeared on the show in the past. New music and tours are coming from Wardruna as well. We have interviewed Einar several times on the subject of his composing work. Continue reading
Vocal teacher and YouTuber Beth Roars is back with another video analyzing singers and bands from across music. In this new video, she reviews and critiques Einar Selvik of Wardruna performing “The Vikings” Suite with the Krakow Symphony in Poland. In addition to Wardruna, Selvik is a composer, performer and makes an occasional cameo on the History Channel television series, Vikings.
For metal fans, the subject of Vikings is nothing new. From wondering why no-one seems to like ‘Invaders’ by Iron Maiden, or suddenly bursting into a frighteningly loud rendition of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Immigrant Song’ at the merest mention of Thor: Ragnarok, those hairy little pillagers have been part and parcel of our music scene for decades. Continue reading
Swedish Black Metal band Fornhem has shared the audio of a new song. The two-piece Norse inspired band is working on a new album for 2019, due out on Trollmusic. Their new album will be the follow-up to their last album Ett fjärran kall, also released on Trollmusic. Continue reading
Einar Selvik of Wardruna has once again provided the soundtrack for the History Channel television series Vikings. Inspired by tales of Norsemen of Medieval Scandinavia, and Selvik’s original Norse inspired music and instrumentation lends historical authenticity and context to the episodes. We’re looking forward to Wardruna’s 2018 tour of the USA. Continue reading
Since forming Iced Earth (formerly known as Purgatory) over thirty years ago, it’s fair to say that mainman Jon Schaffer has presided over his fair share of changes in personnel. The sole remaining member of the original line-up, since 1985, the singer/rhythm guitarist is now onto his seventh lead guitarist, tenth drummer (Brent Smedley now in his fourth separate term), eighth bass player, and fifth lead vocalist. Continue reading
“Ragnarok is not a story about the end of the world. It is about nature. It is about the end of something and the beginning of others. A rebirth.” Continue reading
Thanks to some appalling traffic, and a queue outside the venue which took nearly ninety minutes to clear, and even though I thought I’d left plenty of time to spare, I still somehow managed to miss opening act, Grand Magus. Grrrrr! Continue reading
The brainchild of Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Einar Selvik (Wardruna), Skuggsjá was a project created to celebrate the Bicentenary of the Norwegian Constitution, and ‘A Piece For Mind and Mirror’ (Season of Mist) is the result.
Of course, as everyone outside of Norway is well aware, the country’s two hundredth anniversary was actually back in 2014, and that was when Bjørnson and Selvik were initially approached to perform a collaborative piece at the Eidsivablot Festival in Eidsvoll, Norway (where else?). Going by the name Skuggsjá (which translates into ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’), the pair decided the project deserved pursuing further. They performed together again at Roadburn Festival in 2015, with them secretly slipping into studios in and around Norway over the year to record material whenever possible.
Joined by the likes of Grutle Kjellson and Cato Bekkevold (Enslaved), Lindy-Fay Hella (Wardruna), and folk musicians Eilif Gundersen and Olav L Mjelva, the band have attempted to contextualise their brand of ‘harder’ music in the country’s two hundred years of history, looking at the cultural traditions and ideals of the nation and how relevant aspects of the past connect with the present. So, nice and easy then.
The band use traditional instruments (most of them handmade by Selvik himself, the multi-instrumentalist even going so far as to skin the hides of animals to make drums) such as the Birch-bark lure, Hardanger fiddle, bone-flute, Goat-horn, Kravik lyre, and Tagelharpa as well as all the usual instruments associated with the more contemporary genre of Black Metal. There are some modern electronics in there too, while the lyrics are a combination of early Scandinavian, Norwegian, and Norse.
This isn’t an album to be dissected track by track, but rather one that should be enjoyed as a whole, ideally listened to in a single sitting and free from distraction in order to fully absorb its magic. While relaxing during its more atmospheric parts, it’s easy to allow yourself to be transported to the edge of a cold Norwegian shoreline, looking out to sea as longboats silhouetted against the moonlit horizon move silently inshore, shrouded in a thick, ethereal fog. Er… well, anyway. It all sounds very, very Norwegian.
The heavier sections, most noticeable during ‘Rop Frå Røynda – Mælt Frå Minne’ and the ten and a half minute Bathory-esque ‘Skuggsjá‘, complement those instrumental, occasionally narrated parts perfectly, dropping in at the right moments, hitting you hard and never outstaying their welcome. Sometimes though, like with songs such as opener ‘Ull Kjem’, or closer ‘Ull Gjekk’, it’s the traditional instruments and different vocal styles, rather than the distorted guitars or blastbeats, which create the greatest, most lasting impact.
None more Norse.
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Besides all the amazing headlining acts at this year’s Roadburn Festival, there are also so many bands in the smaller venues that it would be remiss of me not to mention some of my favourites. Scott H Biram was the first of these, shaking up the Stage01 with music a mixture of amazing Blues, Punk, and Heavy Metal, in a one-man and mostly acoustic format. With an instrumentarium of four battered Gibsons and an electric plank, Biram kept the audience entertained with stories and anecdotes and his wonderfully collection of songs. On Friday Einar Selvik gave a presentation about the origin of and ideas behind Wardruna, as well as the way he approaches making the music. He also demonstrated a number of the instruments he uses. The presentation was at the same time informative and endearing, and knowing how much effort goes into the music makes it sound even better.
Possibly my favourite show of the entire festival was Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L. Playing the Jouhikko (bowed lyre) and electric cigar boxes, this eclectic trio makes some astounding Finnish-language blues music. Pekko explained all the sing titles and subjects to us: “This is a song about a woman accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. It is a happy song!” The live rendition of ‘Anna Orjan Ulvoa Kuuta (Let Your Slave Bark at the Moon)’ was certainly the most spectacular blues performance I have ever seen. Another show I really enjoyed was the Experimental Black metal by the Belgian act Briqueville. They played the entire shows in black hooded robes and golden plague masks, which gave an atmosphere as if you were present at a ritual of a dark cult, especially when the black robes were backlit by red light. The music is dark and moody, very melodic, and the sound is very well balanced and satisfying. They only have an EP out so far, but if they keep up this level of work in their upcoming album I think they can go far.
WORDS BY LORRAINE LYSEN