From the exposed heights of the Norwegian wilderness comes ‘Seidgaldr’ , the eleventh album from the heathen enchantress Runahild (who is otherwise known under the name Eliwagar).
The album is a collection of tribal heathen folk songs that are woven with a Nordic shamanism that ensure a free-form psychedelic journey into oneself through the darkness and into the light. It is mainly an acoustic album, raw and primal, which invokes the spirits of the gods and of nature through meditative and linear incantations. These are combined with spellbinding drums and swirling yet simple melodies which lull you into a hypnotic state.
The pieces are minimalistic and build up in layers taking you through a deeply spiritual cleansing process through sound. The catharsis begins with ‘Død og Liv’ – an incantation reminiscent of the Faroese Eivør Pálsdóttir with background samples of a crackling fire and gentle rain which altogether recreate that sense of being outdoors and vulnerable to the elements. And the spell is cast…..
Once we are in the trance-like state the drum circle surrounds our soul and encloses us into a deeper slumber as the title track ‘Seidgaldr’ (meaning ‘Incantations of sorcery’ in Norse) weaves its magic around you as you descend inwards into yourself on an introspective journey or trip. It’s like a benevolent witchcraft, pleasant not fearful, neither light or dark – just enveloping and glue-like bordering on the darkwave genre like Faith & The Muse’s ‘Cantus’ but quintessentially Nordic heathen folk with authentically primal instruments from the hand drum, the kraviklyre and the langeleik (which is like a droned zither).
Do not expect a highly polished commercial radio-friendly pagan folk like L.E.A.F, Faun or Omnia, this is much more raw and somehow more private or personal. It’s much more lo-fi but this somehow increases its charm and makes it more real.
The album progresses with the rain and the drums and into new spells that are not too dissimilar from early Wardruna or Byrdi with double-tracked vocals harmonising with each other and natural sound samples of thunderstorms, wind and rain as Thor and Frey do their guest appearance.
We reach ‘Njardablót’ which is one of the highlights of the album, a track of pure tribalistic ritual folk like that of Blood of the Black Owl. There seems to be a connection between Nordic ritual folk and that of the indigenous Amerindians musically, even though culturally they are very different but they are so alike in their drumming and rhythmic chanting – there must be some deeper connective root. This reoccurring style also features on ‘Wyrd’ which is quite haunting and emotional with melancholic recorders and flutes crying into our yesterday, present and tomorrow all at once as we become entangled in its web while looking into the mirrors of forever.
We slowly re-emerge out of our journey cleansed and purified by the fires of ‘Nornir’ where the Norns have already decided where we head to next through their ethereal chanting commanding us through their beauty and dark mysterious power when we return back to ‘Urd’ where we awaken, freed from the miseries of all things urban and industrial.
Seidgaldr is a beautifully hypnotic collection of powerfully emotive pieces that reconnect us to nature itself before we go back to the mundane world of material existence but with a green fire in our illuminated hearts.