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ALBUM REVIEW: Skuggsjá – Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik’s Skuggsjá

Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik’s Skuggsjá started as a one off commission for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution performance, and now has turned into something, that the artists themselves felt needed to be more available to more people. So the full album has been recorded. It runs for over an hour with 10 songs and 2 bonus tracks, and it’s sort of an album that’s best to be listen by its own fully in one sitting. The whole album is an experience, with parts that are powerful and quite energetic in their own way and emotional.

The album starts with intro Ull Kjme. A pleasing combination of guitar and drum beats, it stands as a very smoothing song to start of the album. That quite easily follows into the album title song Skuggsjá.

The second track continues the mellow and smooth sounds, utilising staple folk instruments like the flute, until the drums start to pick up and the other instruments begin to fall in line. The vocals are not over powering, rather they are a tool to add extra depth to the song. As the song continues, it begins to ramp up the drama before a climatic ending. Makta Og Vanaera, for all tid is the next and is one of the longest songs on the album, clocking in at over 10 minutes. The first couple of minutes of the song is just preparing itself before it becomes bit heavier and more black metal in sound until the chorus rolls in, allowing for the sung melodies to serve as respite from the metallic assault.

Next song after that is Tore Hund, that stands out more on the folk side when comparing it to the previous tracks and represents the album perfectly as it uses many different cultural sounds and brings them together as it utilises very diverse instruments. The fifth song on the album is Rop Frå Røynda – Mælt Frå Minne which is a really fun song, quite atmospheric from the very beginning. The song is quite similar to previous song in regards of the whole culture and nature giving the unique feel.

Next track Skuggeslåtten, a pure instrumental, is a bit more upbeat, it’s a great composition that is pleasure to listen to with some more metal sounds in comparison to last two songs. Kvervandi is the seventh song on the album and it continues the formula of very pleasing sounds consistently played with great skill. The eight track Vitkispa is a song that’s a bit faster, but not in a way of speed, more in compositional way as it feels more energetic, almost to the point where one could spin into dance.

Song before the last Bon Om Ending – Bon Om Byrjing is the second 10 minute song on the album. More majestic in the sound and slower compared to its other counterpart, it serves as the ideal set up for the album closer and also provides some highlights of the album. Ull Gjekk is the last song on the record and it ties the whole album up very nicely,  sounding similar to the opening track, it gives a good feel of closure and allows for the album to naturally conclude itself.

This album has been written by talented artists and it has achieved what they wanted to create, a powerful record that has many different elements in. It starts slow and builds in power as well as remaining true to what it is. Fans of the artists who wrote this album should be very pleased with this as well as fans of ALCESTwho would also find much to be enjoyed in this.

Rating: 9/10

Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik's Skuggsjá

Skuggsjá is out now via Season of Mist

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