Wardruna
Kvitravn


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (359 Reviews)
February 8th, 2021 | 29 replies


Release Date: 01/01/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Come, sit by the hearth.

Once the brainchild of ex-Gorgoroth members, Wardruna sits amongst a pile of tradition and ritual. Sure, the band’s more infamous black metal members may have gone their separate ways (namely in regards to Gaahl), but in Wardruna’s fifth full-length, this Norwegian based export reaches new heights, achieving a potential only ever hinted at with their array of traditional instruments. Still, some hyperbole is to be expected when your lineup boasts multi-instrumentalists capable of sharing and swapping duties between vocalists, flutes, goat horns, lur, taglharpa and varying degrees of percussion. By any means Kvitravn should be an impressive album even before the first note is struck. Thankfully, the preemptive accolades are well deserved by the record’s end. In 2021, Wardruna tell a tale of a white raven in epic fashion, helping earmark a quality year of music.

For the most part, Kvitravn is a safe listen, considering a host of unconventional instruments and internalizing of Scandavian culture. “Synkverv” opens with grandiosity, coupling gentle layering with sheer atmosphere. A call penetrates the twangs of strings and light percussion adds a cinematic, ritualistic clime. The mellow, yet minor soundscapes build slower adding layer upon layer into a whirlwind of chanting and recurring melodic hooks. The album’s title track is similarly geared, but takes the band’s clear atmosphere to a whole new level. The surging but completely hypnotic phrasing of the group’s traditional instruments adds to the interplay between the aural landscape to which Wardruna compose and the less than corporeal connection to their listeners. By and large, Wardruna is trying to tell a story, but in a way that could be imagined around a hearth, goat sacrifice at the ready and ale in hand.

Kvitravn itself is top heavy and “Skugge'' (translating loosely to “Shadow”) is exactly the Scando-banger of the tracks that precede it, while staying notoriously brooding. Nevertheless, Wardruna’s fifth full-length is stronger in its beginning than its end - but lacks a large enough dip in quality to affect the album’s overall reception. Whether it’s the pensive and introspective “Munin” or the lamenting “HvitHjort”, Wardruna moves from building stride to slow march, but remains rooted in their method of storytelling.

While Kvitravn may have lightly indicated its stronger start, something has to be said about the record’s closing two tracks. Both “Vindavlarljod” and “Andvevarljod” act as Wardruna’s closing one-two punch. Again, the build is gradual, allowing the group’s vocal layering to take center stage. The music itself ebbs and flows, not unlike a tide lapping a sandy Norwegian shore. If you allow this analogy to continue, it’s climax becomes a storm, willed in by the gods and heeded by those who can read the divine’s otherworldly motives. Yeah, that’s probably too much a stretch for us mortals… but it’s Wardruna’s captivating story-telling that bridges the gap between a sonic portrait and a portrait within the listeners’ minds. Overall, Kvitravn is a delight, brought from history’s lesser known sagas into today’s modern world. With this album in mind, I await Winter and a warm fire - wrapped in Wardruna’s embrace.



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user ratings (50)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Check this out:



https://youtu.be/JhiUacGzIg8



3.8/5 in the ol' decimal.

Digging: Stargazer (AUS) - Psychic Secretions

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2021


15666 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Here it is. Great jam

Digging: Evergrey - Escape of the Phoenix

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah a couple weeks behind. Life is kicking my ass at the moment. If anyone needs some menus done, hit me up - I've got dishes coming out my ears.

Pikazilla
February 8th 2021


15060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hai, nocte, I missed you



Been a while since I saw you post a review



Why is the album called white raven if the feathers on the artwork are black? T00 d33p 4 m3

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the fourth this year. I’m not rushing between them, although I do feel the same anxiety as I see albums go review less. Mostly I’ve been focusing on “me” between work and family. That might mean a review, it might mean a night of soul crushing jiu jitsu. Mostly I’m just taking this year as it comes with deliberately wigging out. Who knows? It could work.

osmark86
February 8th 2021


10490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wardruna always brings nice vibes. gonna have to check this out.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best vibes of their career so far.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2021


23686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Perfect companion for the last Myrkur. Hella nice read Noct.

Digging: Lost Horizons - In Quiet Moments

Elynna
February 8th 2021


759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. I particularly like your second and closing paragraph, very evocative and eloquently written. It's snowing here in the Netherlands, so it might be time jam this for extra winter feels.

Digging: Merope - Salos

Atari
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2021


26249 Comments


"Best vibes of their career so far."

nah, haha. but definitely better than the last album :]


Digging: The Hold Steady - Open Door Policy

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What’s your go-to Atari babe?

Atari
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2021


26249 Comments


I don't know if I really have a go-to by them. their first 3 are all pretty close in quality imo. I guess this isn't that far off, but not entirely convinced at this point. I'll revisit when I'm in more of a folk mood (which I admittedly haven't been in much lately)

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You need a fresh listen on Winterfylleth’s Harrowing....

That should bring you back to the good stuff .

chchelse2
February 9th 2021


34 Comments


How did I know when I listened to Myrkur that it would be a female vocalist?

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Could be any number of reasons. Do you have access to a basic search engine? I imagine that would bring up a bio of sorts...

osmark86
February 9th 2021


10490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the marvels of the internet never cease to amaze

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

World.Wide.Web.



Amazing.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2021


15666 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Andvevarljod has such a nice vibe

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 9th 2021


13555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Skugge" has to be my "non-metal" best track of the year so far.

Pikazilla
February 9th 2021


15060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ragekvitravn



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