I bought this album on a whim, having immersed myself in Nordic music for a short while and, I must say, I like it. But it's weird and I'm not sure yet if it's 'good weird' or 'bad weird'. It's the sort of music that I only listen to when alone; it's not for sharing.
It is very skilful music and extremely emotional and evocative so I agree with those who advise just sitting quietly and listening to it; it isn't background music at all. But, having had this album for a few weeks now, I find myself getting just a little bored and not being able to listen to the whole album. I imagine that this is the sort of music that sounds better if it's coming into ears affected by some mind altering substance but, as I don't do that, I don't really know.
It may just be that it's because I know it's Scandinavian origins, and I'm a fan of all things 'Viking' (yes, I know it's a verb not a noun!), but I really can feel misty forests and cold fog in this music and I do slow my breathing in places; it's great meditation music.
I keep thinking about buying the other album in this series but, firstly, it sounds very similar and I don't really want more of the same and, secondly, I'm still not sure that I won't get bored with this anyway. At the moment, though, I still like 'Yggdrasil' and keep dipping into it. We'll see.
I was introduced to the sound of this band very recently and they're very difficult to define. The rhythms reach into your soul. The percussive sound is absolutely mind blowing and mixed with the chanting is quite hypnotic. And what a bargain with free auto rip as well as the hard copy. The album has bowled me over and I'm keen to hear more of this strange Icelandic sound from this and similar bands. Put simply, it's brilliant!
I have followed Wardruna since the release of Gap Var Ginnuga in 2009, and I have to say, their music never fails to impress me. Its persistence in opening the mind allows the imagination to wander freely; something which popular chart music seems to lack. Do not take Wardruna's music at surface value - it routes far deeper than mere entertainment! This is an absolute masterpiece of soul and mind!
When Wardruna released 'Gap Var Ginunga' in 2009 they changed the musical landscape forever. A work of profound creativity, and with great respect for ancestral roots and Scandinavian culture, it took me completely by surprise. I was familiar with the previous music of - and had respect for - Gaahl and Kvitrafn, who make up two thirds of Wardruna. Their previous bands were unashamedly metal, but with Wardruna they jumped forward light years by going back to the musical roots of their people: the originators of the runes. This is modern folk music made by musicians with tried-and-tested cultural credibility. Gaahl and Kvitrafn were long revered as heavy metal musicians, but they sound much more at home on Wardruna's music. Their voices are astounding, their musicianship out of this world. This is what they were born to create.
'Yggdrasil' takes over where 'Gap Var Ginunga' left off, in vast swathes of powerful percussive rhythms and chanted vocals. Gaahl and Kvitrafn are in finer voice than ever before, now free to explore dimensions that their previous metal bands didn't allow. Wardruna's female member, Lindy-Fay Hella, sounds angelic, her voice alternating between ethereal vulnerability and Viking menace.
Since 2009's 'Gap Var Ginunga' I've noticed many metal bands adopting elements of Wardruna's sound. This is both testament to the impact of Gaahl and Kvitrafn, and proof that they are looked at as trailblazers: those who lead without ever feeling desire to follow.
Both Wardruna albums take the listener on journeys through Scandinavian forests, over ice-capped mountains, along fjords and out to sea on longship voyages into undiscovered waters. Their music is timeless, rooted in the past but ever contemporary. 'Yggdrasil' features more keyboard than its predecessor, but those sounds fit in perfectly, adding another layer to the profound sound that already had more levels than you could shake a goat horn at.
This is music of substance. It won't just improve your mood: it'll change you for the better.