The Gods live among us as long as there are those who remember them, who worship them.
It seems like folk music inspired by the believes of our ancestors and voicing the sentiment to connect with our inheritance and nature, is getting more popular lately. Acts like Wardruna and Heilung are getting noticed by the bigger public and smaller artists playing similar pagan music surface all the time. One of those acts is the Siberian Nytt Land, who came first on our radar when they came to play a show at our own venue back in 2018. They’ve released their full-length album ‘CVLT‘ earlier this year and it wouldn’t feel right to not have a listen…
And right from the beginning with ‘Valhalla Rising’ you get hit by the very shamanic qualities of their music. Pushing, droning drums with ominous sounding traditional instruments and both ritualistic vocal parts and the haunting voice of Natalya Pahalenko. A very strong start of what is to become quite the ride on a higher plane. ‘Song of the Kazym Godess’ is the first one to feature the frequently used throat singing, giving Nytt Land‘s work a very distinct and rather unique sound together with the dark atmosphere, Natalya‘s mesmerizing and haunting vocals and well chosen electronic elements.
‘Rígsþula’ is another one of those very ritualistic sounding tracks, mostly featuring trance inducing drumming with equally transfixing vocals. While in ‘Ar Hotan Imi’ brings back the throat singing besides the ritualistic drumming and the wonderful traditional snares by, the first guest on this album, violinist Tuomas Rounakari. The perfect addition to Nytt Land‘s sound, knowing that, besides being known as Korpiklaani‘s violinist for the past 8 years, he’s an expert in the shamanic sounds of the region Nytt Land mostly gets inspiration from. ‘Pusel ov Aki’s song’ was a very interesting choice as the first taste of their upcoming album with mostly Natalya‘s haunting and almost fragile sounding vocals up front and center with very minimal musical support. But definitely one of the standout tracks with its pulled back minimalist approach among all the rather heavy tracks. It’s dark and brooding atmosphere somehow pulls you along and makes you feel like wanting to contemplate your existence and meditate. Absolutely stunning.
‘Niðavellir’ and ‘Sólarljóð’ are more electronic tracks. Where the first features gruff male vocals that often run on the edge of throat singing and brings you back into that trance inducing state with its very driving drums and beats until about 3/4 of the track. And the latter has an almost trip hop vibe and a sense of urgency, featuring Natalya‘s impressively haunting voice again. ‘Sortunut ääni’ really caught me by surprise with tormented sounding vocals, sang fully in Finnish, that somehow sounded very familiar to me. After a quick lookup, I understood why that was since they are performed by Jonne Järvelä, known as Korpiklaani‘s vocalist. And that’s not the last guest appearance on the record even though we’re nearing the end of the album. On the short ‘Hanum’ track, Evdokia Moldanova performs some interesting sounding vocals and on album closer ‘Song of the Goddess Keeper’, we get an appearance of a prominent artist in the Russian folk metal scene: Maria “Scream” Arkhipova, vocalist of Arkona. The almost droning effect of her much deeper timbre compared to Natalya‘s, really adds to the heaviness of the last ritual we get thrown in. I was waiting a bit to still hear one of her signature growls/screams once the track ended, but I thoroughly enjoyed her guest bit.
What Nytt Land brings with ‘CVLT’ and overall with all of their music, is not just music. It’s an experience akin to the ritualistic and trance inducing feast of mesmerizing and captivating sounds that outfits like Heilung bring. It takes you on a ride, brings peace to your mind in some regard and will bring you in touch with the primal energy of nature or with the gods if you so will. The duo of Anatoly and Natalya Pahalenko have their own distinct and profound signature sound and take on the genre and bring absolute magic. Just give it a listen, I bet you’re going to like this if Heilung, Wardruna and Danheim is your jam.
Release date: March 24th, 2020
- Valhalla Rising
- Song of the Kazym Goddess
- Ar Hotan Imi (ft. Tuomas Rounakari)
- Seven Spirits in White Coats
- Pusel ov Aki’s song
- Sigrdriva spell
- Sortunut ääni (ft. Jonne Järvelä)
- Hanum (ft. Evdokia Moldanova)
- Song of the Goddess Keeper (ft. Maria “Scream” Arkhipova)