November 14, 2021 — With another week of sparse releases, Kurgan Compass™ readers need not worry as what has been released is top quality. We bring the best new music from artists like Dreyma and Gåte, a teaser for the upcoming debut album by Swedish artist Urferd, and a solid metal collaboration by Peyton Parrish and Jonathan Young, and then some.
As is always the case, we have added our favorite picks to the Kurgan Compass playlists on Spotify for immediate listening.
URFERD TEASES ‘VAKA’ FROM UPCOMING ALBUM
Urferd’s anticipated debut album Resan is slated to release early in 2022 but intrigued listeners have been afforded a small taste of what’s in store with the unveiling of the new single ‘Vaka’. Featuring a more traditional sound, the track emanates a dark yet enthralling atmosphere sure to captivate any who may hear it. This accomplishment is made all the more impressive when one realizes that Urferd features only a single member, Daniel Beckman, who was responsible for all music, lyrics, instruments, and vocals. According to him, Urferd aims to bring a refreshing new perspective to the genre and challenge the boundaries of dark atmospheric folk music.
Speaking on the album as a whole, Beckman notes Resan is a musical odyssey. The album intends to take the listener on a journey through dark, olden nordic forests; lands rife with strife and hardships, yet where the beauty of the nordic landscape permeates. The album will allow a listener to traverse a multitude of enchanting musical landscapes and themes throughout its eight songs, releasing early this following year. Resan can be pre-ordered on Urferd’s official Bandcamp page.
DREYMA SUMMONS DARK SPIRITS WITH ‘MIDNÓTT’
Distant drums, faint chanting, and a roaring fire are what one could assume a heathen ritual would sound like. Dutch fantasy artist and relative newcomer to the neofolk scene, Dreyma, utilizes all of these elements and more in ‘Midnótt’, letting listeners experience the sounds of a commune with spirits. The song features prominent use of shamanic drums which were recorded incredibly close to the microphone, giving the track powerful percussive elements.
However, drums are not the only instrument featured in this single. Others include the jaw harp, bullroarer, shell shaker, and a goat toe rattle. These further enhance the tone and atmosphere of the piece and lend themselves well to the shamanistic aspects of the song. There are also minor vocal parts present such as shamanic circular breathing chants and throat singing. As a whole the song isn’t energetic or aggressive but rather calm and subdued, giving off an air akin to a brisk Autumn night with a full moon high in the starry sky.
As a side note, at the time of writing this song is currently only available on the artist’s Bandcamp, but is expected to come to most major music platforms in the following days/weeks.
MANNTRA RELEASES TRIPLE TRACK EP ‘NIGHTCALL’
Croatian folk-metal band Manntra recently released their three-track EP Nightcall which is a triple-scoop of genre goodness. The first track featured is ‘No Time to Die’ which carries a somber tone through its vocals, contrasted with some exceptionally strong music. The song also contains interludes with folk-rock instrumentation before returning to its more strident metallic melody.
Plain and simple, the second track is an absolute earworm. While many listeners may not understand the lyrics, it is uncannily catchy. From the harmonious melody to the laconic vocals, ‘Naranča’ will not be leaving your head anytime soon.
Finally, the titular track of this EP — ‘Nightcall’ — shows that Manntra deserves more recognition. The song subverts expectations with a piercing introduction that quickly fades into a softer tone once the vocals are introduced. However, the track regularly re-integrates its metallic elements throughout. Furthermore, a brief interlude allows listeners to hear aspects of folk music, which, as touched upon above, is a genre from which the Croatian group is notable for taking influence.
METAL COLLABORATION ‘DRENGR OF RAGNAROK’ WILL BOIL YOUR BLOOD IN THE BEST WAY
Peyton Parrish and Jonathan Young have worked together to bless us with this complete powerhouse of a song. The track incorporates traditional sounds reminiscent of Nordic folk musician Danheim, but is ultimately closer to Viking metal. The vocal performance of Parrish provides respite from the incredible music, with Young’s richly sonorous accompaniment further complementing the overall atmosphere of the song.
Listening to ‘Drengr of Ragnarok’ will place listeners in the bustling midst of a Viking ship, with war drums pounding away as the waves of ancient North Atlantic is skillfully navigated. While the song builds up, so to will your anticipation, all the way to its chorus which is, of course, the climax of the track. One need only listen to the song once to experience the thrill of being a Drengr (Warrior) of Ragnarök, ready for a seat next to Odin in Valhalla.
GÅTE COMPLETES 2-TRACK EP WITH NEW SINGLE ‘SVIK’
In an unexpected move, Norwegian neofolk band Gåte has released a 2-track EP Svik. However, today we will be focusing only on the titular song ‘Svik’ (which translates to “betrayal” in Old Norse) since the EP’s second track, ‘Solfager og Ormekongen’ has already been covered not too long ago in an earlier Kurgan Compass™ roundup.
For starters, the song ‘Svik’ begins with strength in both the music and vocals before shifting towards a softer and more gentle tone. This contrasting shift occurs throughout the track. As always with Gåte, Gunnhild Sundli provides the main vocal performance for the track, delivering a beautifully bewitching sound that feels as though it tickles your eardrums. A solid percussive backbone permeates the song while various strings build upon the weighty foundation, and fans of neofolk should find much to enjoy as this is an unusually strong and unique piece of folk music .
Head over the Kurgan Compass™ neofolk playlist on Spotify to enjoy the bewildering nature soundscapes included above.