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Paganic BM FFO Falkenbach and Moonsorrow! - 75%

necroluciferia, June 3rd, 2010

Forming in 1994, it’s obvious that Voluspaa aren’t just some band hoping to cash in on the recent popularity of “battle” metal. This should come as a relief if, like me, you’re a bit folked off with these wannabe warriors who think waving a plastic sword at a gig makes you a bona fide Viking. There’s no gimmickry here kids; Voluspaa rely on the music, and music alone to do the talking and vociferously so. While having released four demos over the years, Asa appears to be the first full length and also appears to be the work of one mister Freddy Skogstad, though the list of session musicians both for this album and the live set-up is quite extensive.

The booklet gives a nice insight into what the music is all about, with some serene artwork of lakes and woodlands and for those who are interested you’ll find commentary on each of the songs. The artwork really suits the music well, which has a Paganic feel throughout and always seems very close to nature. ‘Av Sin Klokskap’ brings us in with a gentle breeze, swaying us into the track proper as it picks up into a truly ferocious blackened storm that really batters the sails and roughens the seas before returning to a state of calm. I’m often reminded of Falkenbach, especially in the vocals which in parts are really rich and sonorous; the clean, majestic tones contrasting the more blackened sections nicely. ‘Reis Deg Min Herre’ is a good example of this, the resonant ‘hey-ho’ chants swaying melodically, backing up the main vocal lines and really beefing things up. There’s a nice flow to this one and again the vocals suit the music, soaring high above without sacrificing power and working against the ravaging rasps; forget your cheesy, jovial sing-song vocals you won’t find them here!

‘Djupet’ has an intriguing flute section that lends a certain creepiness to the mix, while the repetition of guitars builds a genuine air of foreboding; this carries through into ‘En Hymne Til Våre Udødelige Forfedre’ which also has a dark sense of urgency about it. I love this track; there’s a mesmerising melody that flows through, and almost a magickal feel as the flutes and the female vocals dance around in the mix luring you under its spell. The female vocals sound most exotic and beguiling particularly here and on ‘Ei Folkevise,’ while they work well on ‘Reis Deg Min Herre’ as they mournfully seep into the calm, acoustic passage that interjects the main melody before picking up pace again. There’s definitely a strong black metal backbone to the album which will please fans of Falkenbach and perhaps Moonsorrow, especially on tracks like ‘Vandring’ with its harsh guitars and rasped vocals, although on the whole the album is full of variation and colour. Recommended.

Written by Luci Herbert for http://www.metalteamuk.net