Runahild – ‘Seidfylgjur’ (2019)
Release: 19 August 2019
Label: Grimfrost Records
You are not having déjà vu as you read this as it is time to hear another incredible chapter in the tales by the amazing Runahild. Earlier this year, she unveiled the amazing “Seidhjallar” which received a perfect score from me and this one is pretty close in equaling it. Entitled “Seidfylgjur”, this latest release features 7 tracks totaling 38 minutes of new magick. As you may have noticed the album continues with “Seid” (Norse Sorcery) being at the forefront of the inspiration with “Fylgjur” (magick or supernatural being acting as a guide or companion)…..you can connect the 2 together to infer the meaning. There are a lot of things that will remain familiar to those who have delved into her discography and maybe a few new wrinkles. Even before you listen, this will be her first release not independently done, but through her recent signing to the recently formed Grimfrost records (at this point home to Runahild and Folket Bortafor Nordavinden) with Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth as CEO. Most notably, Grimfrost is known for being a stronghold for Nordic cultural items from clothing to jewelry and everything in between and this new venture seems the perfect place for Runahild to spread her wings. Now on to the album review. There tends to be 2 primary parts of Runahild compositions that are the most notable……her vocals and the percussion elements she employs. I have found that usually one outweighs the other from album to album, but this time they seem to be equal in abundance and more cohesive. There still is that elusive quality and lack of “easy to categorize” element to the tracks…..soundtrack, instrumental, meditative, heathen…..all work to try to describe what she offers but she transcends these all too simple words. The self-harmonizing is as strong as ever on tracks like the title track where multiple versions of Runahild’s voice form numerous layers and textures, including a more noticeable throat/deep vocal this time around. The instrumentation is prolific from the aforementioned drums to lyres, harp, zither, crystal bowls and the haunting bullroarer. The tracks are still for the most part in the 4-5 minute range but the 2 longer ones always catch me more (“Myrkriða” and closing track “Urseid”), bringing you deeper into the spells of the songs. Gustav from Folket Bortafor Nordavinden adds some Sarangi (bowed string instrument) and vocals to “Vardlokkur” which would probably be considered the most adventurous/symphonic track here. The album sounds as solid and transcendent as ever with Kalthallen Studios mastering once again bringing it all to completion. Another chapter is now in the books with not one disappointing note once again. Runahild has no equal and still reigns as the empress of heathen music. Great album.
- I Bjorkas Famn
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