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A strange release this is. - 17%

oneyoudontknow, September 26th, 2009

Hagalaz' Runedance is rather known outside of the metal scene, as their music is commonly associated with neo-folk/-classic. Actually, with this release the spectrum has been broadened even more, as three out of five tracks comes as a Remix in a dance respectively electronic fashion. So, not only fans from the metal scene might be given a hard time here, also 'regular' ones might have some difficulties with following the band in their approach on Urd - That Which Was

Wake Skadi
This track was later re-released or better said re-recorded for the Volven record, on which it appears with a better opening and sound; especially the keyboards sound quite cheap here. Wake Skadi's core facet are the drums and the flutes. While the former with a very monotonous but hypnotic style of play sets the basis -- imagine them played in a similar way to indigenous tribes, who want to reach some level of trance in an ceremony and use varies kinds of percussion instruments to reach this state --, while the flutes are rather cheering and push the music forward. Of course there is the clean voice of Andrea 'Nebel' Haugen, the main focus once it appears. Overall, the orientation on simply but catchy motives makes it easy to remember this track and to 'get' the atmosphere. The version on Volven is better tough, as the sound is denser and more voluminous there.

Urd - That Which Was
There is a huge gap between the first and the second track already. Was the first one very rhythmic and intense, then the succeeding one is rather calm and peaceful. A good amount of vocal layers can be found in this track and even though the track is about five minutes in length, they never really vanish for a long time. Keyboard textures, very minimalist percussions -- often nothing more than one beat on a single drum -- as well as additional instruments can be found; these would appear on a low level, so it is not of much use to waste words on them. In terms of fascination and quality it can be noted that both are going already down the drain here already and the overtly simplicity of this composition easily replaces the fascination of Wake Skadi with boredom.

The crap
Behold The Passionate Ways Of Nature (Moondance remix)
When The Trees Were Silenced (Thuriaz remix)
The Falcon Flies (Ulver juxtaposition remix)

The reasons for including these three compositions remains hidden, but it can be suspected that these are fillers; to make this release to an ep and not to a single/maxi. Some easy cash grab and nothing else. Yes, all of the three compositions are horrible and even the Ulver remix, even though it is supposedly the best of them all, is most certainly not able to fascinate entirely. There is no neat atmosphere, no neat ideas, there is just the clinical vibe of dance and electronic music, whose main goal seems to be to bore the listener to death. Hagalaz' Runedance's art was never too complex, just clever and well arranged, but with the remixes it reaches for a low level that is nothing but annoying.

Final bits and bytes
An interesting beginning and a horrible progression; such would an accurate description of this release be. The purpose of the three dance influenced compositions remains hidden as these do not fit to the art Hagalaz' Runedance is actually known for. Urd - That Which Was gives the impression of being put together without the intention of creating a red line or the sort. This is some kind of compilation and a very bad in this respect. Only the opener is able to fascinate – in terms of the music – while the rest is nearly utter garbage; for which I have paid, as I actually own this thing. Even the performance of Ulver sucks.

So, my recommendation is the following:
Avoid this piece of crap! Do not even waste your time downloading it.