Baldrs Draumar – ‘Njord’ (2022)
Release: 19 November 2022
This Dutch band has a rather special journey.
To be convinced of this, a quick look back at their discography is essential. The first two albums in 2011 and 2015 were released in an electric version with lyrics in English. Later they changed to their native language Frisian, a language spoken in small part of Denmark, Germany and the present-day Netherlands.
Then in 2017 “Fan Fryslâns Ferline” was born in an already amazing acoustic version. In 2019 “Magnus” returns to electric interpretation. And hop in 2022 “Njord” arrives with a version without electric instruments.
Nothing surprising in the end, because for those who have regularly followed Baldrs Draumar in concert have noticed that the Frisians play in both acoustic and electric configuration. If you are a fan of the “Vikings” series, some tracks could very well illustrate the adventures of Ragnar and his sons, while others will be more danceable.
But this isn’t where the album is about. The story which is told by Baldrs Draumar on ‘Njord’ is their interpretation of Frisian and Faroer tales.
Njord tells the epic tale of a group of Frisians who refused baptism and stayed true to the old ways and Gods. Despite violent Frankish expansionist politics that advocated a shallow new religion, in Frisia, an area with a deeply rooted pagan believe, a group who refused Christianity rather chose the path of the unknown.
Trusting that naval expertise and their steady believe in the old Gods would guide them, they headed into open sea. Through cold and dark nights they sailed under guidance of Njord, God of the Sea. Eventually they ended up on the Faroer Islands where they settled and traded with the local people. The local inhabitants decided to give the heathen Frisians a piece of land on which they could build their houses and farms and thus settle.
After the Black Death decimates the population one Frisian farmer and his seven sons survive. They mourn for the death of their kin and the flames that burn the countless bodies scorch the horizon.
When after the terrible plague a bishop decides to raise taxes so he can build a new church, a civil war starts and the strong Frisian father and his sons are asked to lead a Faroe army against the bishop and his men. After some refusals the Frisians decide to do as wished for and they defeat the bishop in a bloody battle in which Northern tribes fight Southern tribes. Eventually the bishop flees the battlefield and seeks shelter on a high wall but is then surrounded by the Frisians who are waiting for the bishop to come down. After a while he can’t take it any longer and falls down the wall after which he is beaten to death by the Frisian farmer.
On Akraberch they stayed and made homes for themselves. They marry local women and mix with the natives. The Frisians are respected far and wide for their strength and hard work. They make love, fight wars and remain loyal to the old ways…. far after the old farmer dies. Until the present day Frisian blood flows in Faroe veins forging a strong bond between the two lands.
It’s always tricky to chronicle bands that have atypical approaches because even if this album is in good shape, you still have to recognize that electric albums have a much more impactful impact. When Heilung and Wardruna compose albums where all electric instruments are absent, it is their DNA that is expressed. But when it comes to the Dutch, the approach can challenge. If we follow the logic of the last releases, the next cd should return to a more “muscular” content. But for now we have this fine acoustic release. Which we can compare best with their previous acoustic album ‘Fan Fryslâns Ferline’, which was in our opinion the best album of 2017. That album was a bit more powerful. ‘Njord’ has very nice songs which are well worked out. Maybe it was the element of surprise, but the songs on the first acoustic album seemed more pure. They had the power of good campfire songs, where the songs on ‘Njord’ are somewhat smoother.
A good album with a very nice storyline, but with a bit less power then it’s acoustic predecessor.
- Fan Keardel en Skiep
- Thus op See
- De lêste Fries
- Wat nea fergiet