wardrunaSo words like pagan, heathen and folk get thrown around in metal pretty indiscriminately and most of the time bands who describe themselves thus usually don’t have more barbarian blood than what I’ve got circulating in my foreskin.

Now this Wardruna project, masterminded by ex-Gorgoroth drummer Einar Kvitrafn and featuring vocals from the big gay anti-Christ himself, this might just be as close to real pagan sound as we’re gonna get. Musically it’s the monotonous pounding of hand-made drums, with some awesome choral chanting and accented by unusual instruments including but not limited to: goat horns, the hardanger fiddle, flutes, mouth harps, stones, trees and fire. Yeah seriously. Parts of their debut, Runaljod – Gap var Ginnunga, were apparently recorded outdoors fulfilling the lifelong fantasy of every fucking black metal hermit one-man band since the inception of the genre.

Besides bringing in the ancient norse language, Norwegian folk music and indigenous music from other cultures, Einar Kvitrafn claims that his inspiration for this project came from his study of runes and runic mysticism. Though this is stuff that I can’t even begin to understand it has however spawned the single coolest piece of band merch I’ve ever heard of: rune necklaces made from animal horns and bones. Each piece is unique and hand-carved by the band and disappear very quickly from the merch section of their website.

Though I haven’t listened to the whole album yet, I’m a bit lukewarm at first. Though this material certainly is dark and esoteric enough for metal heads to flock to, I can’t quite shake the idea in my head that some of these songs sound like samples that a band might use to prelude something with blastbeats. Here’s a video of Wardruna performing live on Norwegian television so you can decide for yourself. Ghaal is without corpse-paint but sporting his casual leather jacket and Kvitrafn is the skinhead looking motherfucker next to him.

Wardruna are scheduled to play the infamous Inferno Festival in Oslo this year  not on the main stage but (get this) in a mountain hall outside the city!


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