Review | Songlines

Vikings Memories

Rating: ★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details

Artist/band:

SKÁLD

Label:

Decca

December/2020

SKÁLD take their name from the Norse balladeers who told tales of gods and men in the medieval past. The group’s commitment to Viking authenticity extends to singing in old Norse and using ancient instruments like the jouhikko (bowed lyre). The French trio behind SKÁLD scored an unexpected hit with their debut Vikings Chant, which spawned a series of streaming successes. Vikings Memories does not change a winning formula, which is centred on the purity of Justine Galmiche’s storytelling vocals, paired with the guttural croak of Pierrick Valence, who employs a throat singing technique to atmospheric effect. Producer Christophe VoisinBoisvinet ties it together with war-like beats and twangs, creating a cinematic or video game-like sound-world.

There is something of the historical re-enactor about SKÁLD that is hard to take seriously. Those looking for more subtle interpreters of Nordic folk traditions should consider Swedish trio Väsen. From the amount of eye-liner on display in SKÁLD’s music videos however, the group may well be in on the joke, and light-hearted listeners should not be afraid to join in.

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