October 31, 2021 — The past week in neofolk and related metal was definitely a slim one. Thankfully, slim as they may be, the releases that caught our attention happen to deliver an eclectic assortment of music and news that genre fans will totally enjoy diving into.
The melodic sounds of ancient Scandinavia and Finland, heavy use of string instruments, and a deliberate message fulfill a robust listening experience. Think back to the brave warrior-sailors that once explored the world and to the storytellers — the Skalds and Scops of Anglo-Norse Europe who were masters of story-telling and poetry, keeping the oral traditions and ancient history alive while filling the air with inspiration. This week, Kurgan Compass has a collection of tracks and new albums that embody the signature sounds. As always, our favorite songs have been added to the Kurgan Compass neofolk playlist on Spotify.
Sun and Moon Dance Working on New Album
The sounds of ritualistic cultures come from all over the globe, and the talented minds behind Sun and Moon Dance are calling to the distant lands from the mountains of Western North Carolina. The project recently revealed its upcoming album, Re:member, a collection of eight thematic tunes that ring true to the folksy sounds of a much simpler place.
To entice listeners, Sun and Moon Dance has already offered two tracks for free listening. Exclusively available on Bandcamp at the time of writing, ‘An Eagles Blessing’ and ‘Shapeshifter’ pull inspiration from the ancient memories tucked away behind our third eye. Both songs are slow and steady, integrating classic instrumentations and vocalizations to really drive home a bygone link to the natural world.
‘Elden Tears’, ‘Healing the Mother (feat. Bobby Sant)’, ‘Evergreen’, and ‘Harvest Moon’ are also listed as tracks to appear on Re:member, with the album release currently penned in for release on January 1, 2022. Fans who want to support neofolk in general and Sun and Moon Dance and particular should definitely pre-order Re:member on the group’s Bandcamp page.
Equilibrium’s ‘XX’ is Epic Metal At Its Best
Drums, guitars, and powerful vocals all come together in Equilibrium’s latest single, ‘XX’, for a stellar arrangement that any lover of metal would latch onto. According to the music project’s Facebook page, ‘XX’ has been ‘hidden in a bedside drawer for almost 15 years. Good for us Equilibrium has dusted it off!
A blend of the old and new, ‘XX’ uses chords first created shortly after the band’s first album. If you listen closely, you may be able to hear the subtle contrast between Equilibrium’s original sound and the unmistakable modern metal of the German band’s current releases.
‘XX’ is available on multiple platforms, including YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon Music, and it is a single that should be on your playlists across all three.
Herknungr Drops New Record With Dark Twist
It starts with a steady chirping of birds and the crunching of freshly fallen leaves. It is an album intro that really builds anticipation as it takes listeners into the depths of an unknown soundscape world. What sits at the end of this lengthy path is, at first, undetermined, but then the electronic sounds of Dauðadagr fill the void of silence, and you are left wondering if maybe this is not a trek you want to be on. But knowing the musical talents of Herknungr, whom we interviewed back in April, his new album is one you won’t want to miss.
At just below 35 minutes, the 11-track record carries with it a sense of darkness as each track borders on the line between ritualistic to dark and haunting. Herknungr utilizes every ounce of its talent to tell stories through song, and it pays off in a fascinating album full of purposeful and rhythmic sounds.
Daudadagr is available now on all major music services and the Herknungr Bandcamp page.
Sagason Senses ‘Magic All Around’ in New Single
The gentle strumming of guitars is a nice change of pace from an otherwise dark, gloomy, and ritualistic deeper dive into the sounds of Nordic culture and neofolk tracks. German neofolk project Sagason brings us ‘Magic All Around’ which is nothing short of beautiful, delighting the senses with a pleasing blend of instrumentals and vocals that will transport listeners to a different world.
‘Magic All Around’ delivers on the promise set by its name, serving as a surprising mix of wonderful string instruments and alluring vocals for a memorable listening experience (that is if you are not caught up in the mystery of the new song.)
SKÁLD Drops Surprise 5-Track EP ‘Winter Songs’
There is something mystical and magical about the sounds of winter, and France’s mightiest neofolk project SKÁLD captures that awe and wonder in a new surprise EP entitled Winter Songs. Five tracks pay tribute to the Viking culture the talented musical project is connected to, delivering on a sound that is unmistakably tied to the Norse source material that inspired the new release, with some lyrics being written in authentic Old Norse.
Tracks like ‘Jólanótt’ and ‘Villeman Og Magnhild’ are imbued with a touch of folk that is catchy enough to dance around a roaring fire to, while ‘Rún’ and ‘Grótti’ are a bit more subtle with their vocals and sound as if serving as an auditory rest before SKÁLD finishes off the album with the powerful vocals of ‘ƥat Mælti Min Móᵭir’. It should be noted these three tracks are new versions of previously released material by the group, which hints at Winter Songs could have been put together in a rush to make a seasonal release.
Winter Songs is currently available on SKÁLD’s Spotify and is a 14 minute, 30-second journey that fans are likely to spin more and more as we approach December.
Make sure to check out the Kurgan Compass™ playlists on Spotify for immediate access to the above.