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Album Reviews : Voluspaa – Asa

By on May 21, 2010

2774858The music scene is very different today than it was a few decades ago. Nowadays bands are categorized with comparisons to the bands that influenced them, and for this they often suffer as their music is hailed as being unoriginal, uncreative and lacking the elements that made their influences legendary. One thing that has come out of this is a determination for bands to make their music more complex and more obscure, spawning a whole new range of sub-genres. One of the bands that have clearly taken this concept into consideration is Voluspaa, a one man project hailing from Hønefoss, Norway. Voluspaa have taken elements of black, folk, viking and progressive metal, and created songs thick with multi-layered complexity, whilst retaining black metal aggression and brutality. Fans of Melbourne based band NeObliviscaris will be instantly drawn to the band due to their similarities.

Voluspaa is the work of Freddy Skogstad. He first released demos for the band in 1994 and 1995, but the band went on a hiatus until 2005, when Freddy began writing again. This spawned two more demos and now, the band’s debut album ‘Asa’. Everything in the studio was handled by Freddy except for the inclusions by violin player Hildr Valkyrie and female vocalist Sareeta (Ram-Zet).

The opening track on the album ‘Av Sin Klokskap’ is also the highlight of the album. It is an epic and flawless introduction to the band’s style. A beautiful, acoustic intro soon bursts into a thick wall of rhythmic melodies and fuzzy distortion guitars. Wailing and crying female vocals, piano and indistinguishable foreign black metal vocals play out as an echo amongst the rich, epically beautiful soundscape, and my use of the word ‘complex’ will instantly be put into perspective. The second half of the song has spoken male vocals that sound gruff, like those of Chrigel Glanzmann from Eluveitie. The song fades back into an acoustic outro that ends one of the most epic and downright brilliant songs I have ever heard.

Most of the songs follow this same general structure, which can become quite monotonous with time. This said, some of the songs such as ‘Reis Deg Min Herre’ show a more pagan folk metal sound whilst others such as ‘Hennes Røst’ stick closer to the black metal formula, ‘Djupet’ even sounding like a Satyricon song.

‘Mens Månen Lyser Opp’ is an attempt at a more melodic track, but whilst the violin dominated music is beautiful and flowing, the vocals sound too forceful and rugged, ruining the beautiful atmosphere that accompanies much of this album.

On one hand it’s easy to say that Voluspaa are really pushing the boundaries with their music, but the other side of it is that they haven’t stepped far enough out of those boundaries in each direction, which is why the tracks on ‘Asa’ suffer from lack of variety. The band prove that they have the potential to do awe inspiring things with their style of music, and the first few tracks on the album will alone be enough to satisfy a wide range of metal heads willing to open their mind to something a bit left of centre. 8/10

Band: Voluspaa
Album: Asa
Year: 2010
Genre: Folk/Black metal
Origin: Norway
Label: Aurora Australis Records

Track listing:
01. Av sin klokskap <–Reviewers choice
02. Hennes Rost
03. Reis deg min herre
04. Hvorfor…
05. Djupet
06. En hymne til vare udodelige forfedre
07. Ei folkevise
08. Mens manen lyser opp
09. Min plikt som far
10. Vandring
11. En tid tilbale

Reviewed by Steven Inglis


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.