Κυριακή, 27 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Yggdrasil - Valkyria


by Micha F. Lindemans
In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil ("The Terrible One's Horse"), also called the World Tree, is the giant ash tree that links and shelters all the worlds. Beneath the three roots the realms of Asgard, Jotunheim, and Niflheim are located. Three wells lie at its base: the Well of Wisdom (Mímisbrunnr), guarded by Mimir; the Well of Fate (Urdarbrunnr), guarded by the Norns; and the Hvergelmir (Roaring Kettle), the source of many rivers. Four deer run across the branches of the tree and eat the buds; they represent the four winds. There are other inhabitants of the tree, such as the squirrel Ratatosk ("swift teeth"), a notorious gossip, and Vidofnir ("tree snake"), the golden cock that perches on the topmost bough. The roots are gnawed upon by Nidhogg and other serpents. On the day of Ragnarok, the fire giant Surt will set the tree on fire.
Other names for the tree include: Ask Yggdrasil, Hoddmimir's Wood, Laerad and Odin's Horse.
Old Norse: Mimameidr

 The Band


At the turn of the year 2000-2001 Magnus Wohlfart and Gustaf Hagel decided to create a musical project combining the dark and mysterious atmosphere of traditional Scandinavian folk music with the powerful force of metal. And so YGGDRASIL was brought to life.
After having released two demos, YGGDRASIL recorded the debut album “Kvällningsvindar Över Nordrönt Land” (“Evening Winds Over Northern Lands”) in 2005, which was released via German record label Det Germanske Folket in late 2007.
In 2008 the follow-up album, “Vedergällning” (“Vengeance”), was recorded and subsequently released in the summer of 2009, also by Det Germanske Folket. This year saw YGGDRASIL conquering the stage at Germany’s Ragnarök Festival, where thousands of fans gave YGGDRASIL two horns up! The year closed with both YGGDRASIL albums being released in digital format for the first time through Swedish label Grand Master Music.
Following a split with the record label Det Germanske Folket, YGGDRASIL focused on the writing of the third album "Irrbloss" ("Will-o-wisps"). It was recorded in the fall of 2010 and saw Benny Olsson (guitars) and Jacob Blecher (drums) entering the line-up as permanent members. YGGDRASIL signed with Grand Master Music to release "Irrbloss" in April 2011 together with a re-release of the two previous albums.


Παρασκευή, 18 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Ullortuneq The Red Rider

         When the Red Horseman's arrow pierces the sky, the sun rises.

Support indigenous Cultures 

Σάββατο, 5 Ιανουαρίου 2013



Not a whole lot is known about this mysterious ensemble from England. Ildra happen to be one of the very few black metal bands who sing in the ancient Anglo Saxon language. A number of bands recently have dipped their toes into ancient English history, most notably those such as Winterfylleth, Forefather and the only other one who I can think of who recorded a full album in Anglo-Saxon, Ealdulf. None have really delved into it though to the extent which Ildra have here on “Edelland”. It’s a welcome variation from the usual ancestral European pagan and celtic beliefs and a window into a history that seldom gets any attention at all in the metal scene.

The music itself is a lot more black metal focused than Forefather though, there is a significant mid-period Graveland influence throughout the structure of the material here, and not to forget also a large “Hammerheart” influence to proceedings as well. This is none more obvious than in the vast meandering instrumental passages to many of the songs; the dense surging riffing and the booming coarse vocals driven by the warlike pounding on the drums give the music a real presence of triumph. On top of this there is also that weathered organic sound constantly existent throughout, augmented frequently by some rather illustrious work on the acoustic guitar.

The first proper track, ‘Kingdom After Kingdom’ bursts in with aplomb, like some ancient British war hymn laced with the undulating riffs and thunderous drumming. The vocalist could just as well be the commander barking orders to his men. The accented delivery of the Old English lyrics certainly adds a certain grit to the overall spirit of things. The same could pretty much be said for the rest of the metal tracks here, and the frequent marriage of acoustic and electric guitar passages is incredible, and keeps everything sounding sharp. On top of this “Edelland” is also woven with frequent tact lead work, which can be difficult to achieve in black metal. Few bands can pull it off as well as this.

Most of the songs contain extensive brooding instrumental sections which accentuate that earthen, triumphant atmosphere to such an extent it’s pouring out your ear holes. And on the subject if instrumentals, this album has quite a few breaking up the main songs so to speak, and for once on a black metal album they complement the overall multi dimensional atmosphere perfectly, stirring that already present tempestuous air further. They pretty much sound like some arcane war tune with their acoustic melodies and menacing drum work.

Some of the rhythms do have a tendency to repeat themselves at times, you’ll be thinking “Did I not hear that riff before?” but thankfully this is only a minor gripe as it doesn’t occur too often to be a major problem. “Edelland” is an extremely mature and accomplished piece of work. It brings a certain degree of welcome inspiration and freshness to an area of black metal which is sorely missing something like this of late. Fans of Winterfylleth and Graveland need this, because while Graveland have released some seminal albums, they also have the habit at times of sounding very contrived, especially these days, “Edelland” can easily stand on its own two feet against the best of the genre. And to be totally honest on this evidence, Ildra aren’t light years away from making a “Thousand Swords” themselves. This will be a tough one to match not just by IIldra themselves, but by anyone aiming to ply their trade in this area.
- Memnarch, February 10th, 2012