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Urferd - Resan Award winner

Urferd
Resan
by Chris Hicklin at 06 June 2022, 4:00 PM

Swedish outfit URFERD is the brainchild of founder and sole member Daniel Beckman, utilising a multitude of traditional instruments he plays Ambient Nordic Folk Music. Dark and highly atmospheric, this is not Metal but it sure is Heavy.

Opening track “Gryning” is prefaced by some soothing sounds of the forest, tweeting birds and gentle breezes, as the music begins one is taken by the feeling of flying. The sound is grand and cinematic, if this is “a journey through dark and olden Nordic forests” I can only assume that we are on the flight to get there as this is majestic and soaring. “Avfärd” translates as “Departure” although I suspect more in the sense that you might depart on a journey, so a start rather than the end of something. It takes us more in the direction the promotional material would suggest, a string led feast of music with dark, ominous undertones, a deep choral vocal underpins the whole track and the composition shifts subtly between droning strings and the occasional flash of melody, which is all that is needed.

Strövtåg” comes across as a contemplative piece, not as dark, but just as uncertain. “Hymn” features rolling drums and swelling horns, the choral arrangements are absolutely pristine and must have taken many hours of work to perfect, this is a majestic and symphonic piece with many different instruments, there is an air of foreboding though as though something dark in on the way. “Envig” is where this darkness fully lands, the drums are threatening and warlike, the track has a sense of impending doom. The title translates as “Duel” and the first half has the feeling of a face-off between two opposing forces. The track suddenly lifts at the halfway point and takes a more driving direction as though whatever battle was coming is now underway.

Vaka” is a spectacular composition, it starts out dark and slow building layers of choral vocals and gradually brings in strings, throat singing, a harp-like instrument and militaristic drums, building melodies and anticipation as it goes until it reaches a crescendo before sinking back into a darkly ruminating ending. “Hemfärd” (Homecoming) slowly builds a soundscape of pipes and strings, it lifts as it goes, giving the slight feeling of hopefulness. This could be about the return home of warriors perhaps, as it closes out it reaches great heights with triumphant background wails and resplendent deep brassy instruments.

Final track “Dvala” translates as “Hibernation” and has a very solemn quality. It is one of the few tracks with fully realized vocals singing clearly, and this resonates deeply as the vocals are tragic sounding, a great lament or sorrow permeates the song and the final few minutes play out like a mother singing a small child to sleep, with words of comfort.
I did not expect to enjoy this album half as much as I did, it is a tremendous work. The attention to detail is mind-blowing, the production absolute untouchable and this incredible multi-instrumentalist will be turning some heads in the years to come for sure.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability:9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Gryning
2. Avfärd
3. Strövtåg
4. Hymn
5. Envig
6. Vaka
7. Hemfärd
8. Dvala
Lineup:
Daniel Beckman – All Instruments
Kristin Starkey – Additional Vocals
Record Label: Black Lodge Records
     


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