Wardruna, despite having released only two albums, enjoy esteem within the world of folk music for their use of traditional, handmade instruments and themes of Norse spirituality. Yggdrasil is the second instalment of their rune triology Runaljod. The album picks up where first record Gap Var Ginunnga left off, exploring the individual runes of the elder futhark.
The band’s approach to their beliefs and ideas runs much deeper than the vast majority of other acts that share the same genre and it is because of this that the music holds such mesmerising power, even if you aren’t able to understand the lyrics (which are written and performed in Norwegian, Old-Norse and Proto-Norse). There isn’t a moment on ‘Yggdrasil’ where it sounds like a studio recording (probably because none of it was recorded in a studio!), the entire record feels like a ritual or live performance.
The music flows well, with not a single track letting the others down and each song has been carefully structured and pieced together to make something magical. This is music that is best appreciated through a quality set of headphones; lay back, close your eyes and you will find yourself in the misty wooded depths of Norway. However, this type of music is not meant for everyone and is certainly not something to put on in the background whilst you go about your daily life.
For those that find themselves in the right mood, the songs of Wardruna will provide insight into Norse mysticism and a peaceful respite from the pace of urban living. This is by no means a ‘metal’ album and those that seek out this band because of Kristian Espedal (aka Gaahl) will need to look elsewhere, as this is as far removed from Gorgoroth and God Seed as is musically possible.