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Wardruna - Runaljod-Gap Var Ginnunga (Reissue) Award winner

Runaljod-Gap Var Ginnunga (Reissue)
by Erika Kuenstler at 03 June 2014, 9:35 AM

With a lineup containing various Norwegian musicians, including past and present members of GORGOROTH , namely Kvitrafn and Gaahl respectively, WARDUNA is an Ambient-influenced Folk Metal band that has garnered much fame in their eleven year history. Most notably, the band has the intention of interpreting the ancient Norse runes laid out in the Elder Futhark alphabet into a trilogy of albums collectively entitled “Runaljod”, which roughly translates to “sound of the runes”. Each rune has its own spiritual and mystical meaning and associated magical property, and it is these significances that are explored and interpreted in this trilogy. This difference in meaning from one rune to another is reflected in the composition of the songs on this album, with no two tracks being in a similar vein; each has its own unique identity and influence.

The first installation of this trilogy is “Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga”, originally released in 2009, with the first press of this album having been sold out for quite some time. However fans of this exceptional Norwegian outfit will be happy to know that this album was reissued just a couple of weeks ago. This reissue takes the form of a black vinyl record, as well as in a limited double picture CD, both housed in covers with simplistic yet stunningly tranquil album artwork, created by having the red WARDRUNA logo on an uneven black and white background. “Ginnunga” can be roughly translated as “the yawning void”, and refers to the time before the universe came into existence, the essence of which is distilled into this powerful, primeval, and haunting album which repeatedly gave me goose bumps with the sheer splendour conjured by its multifaceted soundscapes. It is impossible to select a couple of highlights or a favourite track; all are incomparable in their own right.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Kvitrafn incorporates a wide range of instruments into the album, from drums that he himself crafted by hand, to goat horns, to mouth harps. This beautifully complements the variations in meaning being conveyed, with these traditional instruments paying homage to the ancient Norse culture. In addition to this, several of the recordings were done in nature, lending the whole album a more organic and natural atmosphere, further enhancing the natural character of each rune. Gaahl’s voice lends the tracks a more ritualistic air, whilst the vocals laid down by Lindy add an expressive feminine touch which rounds off the tracks exquisitely.

Overall, this is a fascinating conceptual album, and the soundscapes woven around each rune range from emotionally expressive and primordial to faultlessly sublime. It is exceptionally rare for me to award an album a full 10/10, but this is a masterpiece that more than warrants full marks. As with many things in life, beauty is fleeting, so if you missed the album the first time round, be sure not to let this second press elude you too.

5 Star Rating

1. Ár Var Alda
2. Hagal
3. Bjarkan
4. Løyndomsriss
5. Heimta Thurs
6. Thurs
7. Jara
8. Laukr
9. Kauna
10. Algir - Stien Klarnar
11. Algir - Tognatale
12. Dagr
Kvitrafn - All Instruments, Vocals
Hallvard Kleiveland - Hardanger Fiddle
Lindy Fay Hella - Vocals
Gaahl - Vocals
Record Label: Indie Recordings


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Edited 26 May 2019

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