REVIEW: SKUGGSJÁ – “A Piece For Mind & Mirror”
For those of us with a connection to the ancient world Skuggsjá will hit your core and awaken the spirit inside. This magical compilation of songs is the work of Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) & Einar Selvik (Wardruna). Skuggsjá was just a concert piece made in 2014 for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. It was then was played on September 2014 at the Eidsivablot festival. The piece has obviously sparked and ignited a flame that has inspired Ivar & Einar to create a full length album called ‘A Piece for Mind & Mirror’. The lyrics on the album are composed of Norse/Norwegian traditions along with poetry and the use of Old Scandinavian instruments.
“Ull Kjem” starts the album off setting the dark atmospheric tone. The song features female vocals along with the sounds of flutes which start off the mighty tales. The third track “Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid” had a much more faster pace. I loved its ambient guitar rifts and the small hint of black metal screams with clean vocals make it absolutely mesmerizing. This song had a much more modern tempo than any of the others on the album. With a sound of the mighty horn “Tore Hund” begins and leaves a lasting impression on the mind of a listener. This was accomplished thanks to the other artists that are part of this journey. The artists were Grutle Kjellson (vocals), Lindy-Fay Hella (vocals), Eilif Gundersen: (birch bark lure), Olav L. Mjelva (Harding fiddle) & Cato Bekkevold (drums). The contribution from everyone was really put together well and sounds harmonious in every way.
Even though most of us are not lucky enough to understand Norwegian (Norse) it’s still amazing that the heavy impact and energy you can absorb from the songs. Foreign languages are beautiful strong and amazing. This demonstrates how hearing can be more powerful than understanding for those who do not know. “Kvervandi” is the most special song on the album. After listening to this track several times over and over; if you’re lucky you’ll feel what I felt. Almost as if you went into a trance because it’s so alluring eventually something inside of you will wake up. Even though we live in the year 2016 its mind blowing how Ivar & Einar managed to create something that sounds so old and bewitching. How a song could reach this magnitude of energy has no explanation. To listen closely beyond the lyrics and the instruments you can feel something more. ‘A Piece for Mind & Mirror’ has opened a door that we have not yet crossed until now. To put into words the experience you’ll have when listening to ‘A Piece for Mind & Mirror’ will vary from person to person. But one thing for sure is no one can deny how enchanting this album is.
There are few albums we’ve all heard over the years that have the power to transcend you into another place and time. But ‘A Piece for Mind & Mirror’ has definitely done that. All the instruments, the tone of the voices over all have created nothing more than beauty. Every song told a different story in this album. You can hear the deep essence of a dark, majestic and magical place where the music has come from. To walk in the path of Norse and to hear this it’s simply amazing. For those of us who like deeper meaningful metal ‘A Piece for Mind & Mirror’ is a must!