Runaljod - Ragnarok is the third installment in a trilogy of albums that began with Runaljod - gap var Ginnunga (2009) and continued with Runaljod - Yggdrasil (2013). The ambitious idea behind the trilogy was to create musical interpretations of each of the twenty-four old Nordic runes. It proved to be a lengthy and challenging task. Some of the material on the album even date back to 2003 and the early stages of the project, when multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Einar Selvik started to develop the genre-defying sound and style that Wardruna have become known for. It is a contemporary sound, but one that is characterized by the use of old and historical instruments like Kraviklyra, taglharpe, goat horns, birchbark lures and more. The vocals range from whispering voices to melodic song and mighty choirs. All performed with sincerity and conviction. Most notable on Runaljod - Ragnarok is the use of the Scandinavian bronze lures, whose iconic sound and appearance make them a perfect fit with Wardruna's instrumentation and concept. Special guest performances by Einar's own children and Skarvebarna children's choir must also be noted.
There are many many projects outside of metal's remit that explore the history of music - usually from a regional perspective - and combine this with modern ideas and techniques. Often dubbed 'world music'; a label with even less intrinsic meaning than 'folk'. But Wardruna have cornered the market on a style with a strong appeal for metalheads. At the heart of it all however, is well written music with bags of appeal in its own right; even when we set aside the quibbles over labels and history. - Hate Meditations5/5
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