December 12, 2021 — There’s nothing quite like kicking back with a Yuletide drink and the intoxicating sounds of neofolk. Well, unless you are fueling your day with a jolt of caffeine and folk metal — either way, this week’s roundup is brimming with audio choices to accompany either scenario. Artists like Sowulo and Hellung topped the media circuit this week as new albums, new tracks, and even exciting new announcements gave neofolk fans something to revel over.
Prepare for our weekly journey to distant lands, a forgotten past, and through fabled stories in our latest weekly roundup.
The best new tracks have, as always, been added to the Kurgan Compass™ Spotify playlists.
Sowulo Drops New Version of ‘Slincan Snīcan’
The Dutch artist behind this Norse-like project knows exactly how to call upon the signature sounds of neofolk. That is why they have landed themselves on our weekly roundup on more than one occasion, this time with a spin on a track we have heard from them before. The haunting sounds of ‘Slincan Snīcan’ — the haunting track, recorded during a live studio session, is surprisingly more involved and moving than the original.
Sowulo’s soft vocals are accompanied by a stronger arrangement of strings, which create a spookier atmosphere for the track. It is definitely an improvement over an already stellar track. The in-studio session at Lil’Heaven Studios featured the talents of Chloe Bakker on a Celtic harp, Tim Elfring and Roel Stejvers on percussions, Rikke Linssen on violin, Maria Angeles Chaparro Fuentes on viola, and Heleen de Jonge and Sascha Hilgen on cello. At the forefront of the live track, Faber Horback and Micky Hijismans deliver striking vocals.
Sowulo Joins Wardruna-powered label ByNorse
Sowulo had a busy week and, along with the new version of ‘Slincan Snīcan’, was welcomed aboard the ByNorse music label. There is sure to be even more exciting news to come from the announcement, but for now, the label is re-releasing Mann (2019) and SOL (2016) on vinyl for the first time.
Preorders are currently available for the new vinyl releases here, which are scheduled to ship on February 25, 2022. Future Sowulo albums are expected to release through ByNorse too, surely in an effort to make sure Sowulo receive the attention they deserve.
Volbeat Releases New, Highly Anticipated Heavy Metal Album ‘Servant of the Mind’
Volbeat has quite a different sound than other artists on this week’s roundup, but the project has earned its place on this list with the launch of Servant of the Mind (Deluxe). Eighteen heavy metal tracks straight out of Copenhagen capture the sound expected of Volbeat, and the full album is a musical experience with just the right amount of heavy guitars and powerful drums.
There is nothing to not like about Servant of the Mind, especially with more unique tracks like ‘Domino’ rounding out the complete track listing. ‘Becoming’, ‘Shotgun Blues’, ‘Don’t Tread on Me’, and ‘Step Into Light’ are fine examples of why Volbeat has made such a big splash in the international metal scene.
Several tracks from the album, including ‘Temple of Ekur’ and ‘Shotgun Blues’, are accompanied by music videos you won’t want to miss. The album is available on Spotify and all other music services, and also in physical formats on Volbeat’s official website.
Nattramn Releases Its First Album ‘Skaldskapr’
Swedish dark folk project Nattramn is known for its spin on the genre, pulling inspiration from classic poetry and elements of the Elder Futhark runes. It is what fans have come to expect and will find in the project’s newest album, Skaldskapr. The 11 track album was just released on Bandcamp and, according to Nattramn, is a ‘collection of various old poems’ from Sigrdrífumál, Völuspá, and Odin’s ageless advice given in Hávamál. The regional inspirations are evident to anyone familiar with Nattramn’s style
Nattramn previously went by the name Fornsken which we reported on here. Also, we have an interview coming up with the man behind Nattramn in early 2022. Sign up for our newsletter to find out when it goes live.
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Mesmerizing throat singing, melodic vocals, and gentle strings breathe life into each of the 11 tracks on Skaldskapr. The opening song, ‘Verja’, is a master class in the sounds of Eddaic poetry and sets the stage for tracks like ‘Vindöld’, ‘Gap Var Ginnunga’, and ‘Til Árs ok Friðar’. The full album is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple. For fans who want to support Nattramn directly, each song can be purchased individually on Bandcamp.
Heilung Teams With ‘Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2’
If you caught the six-minute Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 gameplay reveal at The Game Awards on December 9, then you may have also recognized the audio talents of Heilung. Shortly after the game’s official reveal at the 2019 Game Awards, Heilung’s Christopher Juul confirmed his prominent war folk project would have a significant role in the Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Official Soundtrack.
The band collectively offered the following statement;
“It is with the uttermost joy and deepest respect that we can finally reveal that Heilung is collaborating with Ninja Theory on the soundtrack for Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.”
Heilung’s signature sound is in full swing during the gameplay reveal, giving us a taste of how the music will work into the full game.