Vera : Quite many metal fans enjoy to be led away by the ethnic sounds of bands such as Wardruna and Heilung. Outfits which create traditional folk inspired by the Northern legacy, played on authentic instruments and dressed like Vikings. Skald belongs to that kind of music and we can recommend their debut album Vikings Chant as seminal newcomer within the genre. This collective hails from France, yet it includes several vocalists who are specialized in Norse Viking chants.
Skald happens to be the initiative of Christophe Voisin-Boisvinet. He started with gathering some vocalists around him and decided to breathe new life into the poetry of the ancient skalds. One can consider Skald as a mainly vocal band, yet an opulence of tribal and Shamanistic drums and percussion sets the tone, while also instruments like lyre, harp, citole played with a bow, jouhikko and nyckelharpa can be heard. They even make music on bones from animals and deer antlers. It is true, that approach reminds us a lot of Heilung, surely because a main role is preserved for high (ethnic) female chants. It happens to be a cautious constructed album which starts with harp-alike sounds, serious spoken words and high esoteric female chants. Next the upcoming chart buster Run announces itself with majestic drums, very strong female vocal lines and sturdy reply of male vocals. I bet that this song will soon haunt you and will not leave your mind anymore, surely when you simultaneously watch the epic video scenes. Valfreyjudrapa is straight away a bit more rhythmic and uplifting cheerful, but in general the album breathes proper melancholy and fascinating darkness. The rather short songs all have different nuances, but due to their ritual nature they might be trance-inducing and they are brought with passion. Sometimes a capella, like in Ec Man Iotna, next modestly proclaiming like in O Valhalla and regaled with solemn spoken fragments that remind us of Ãsatru ceremonies in the slow, introvert Ginnunga. It almost feels like a sudden change of mood when the last song Joga appears to be sung in English language, but naturally that increases the accessibility and catchiness. Thus: do not expect a firm metallic injection on Vikings Chant, but most of all a folkloristic experience where few imagination is needed to see the northern lights or the ice-cold beauty of nature in Scandinavia before your eyes when listening. Warning: a song like Ran is addictive!