Once I was told that some of the finest albums were made by one-man bands. To some extend this is true, especially nowadays. Many artists choose to work on their own despite it’s time-consuming, expensive and demands full devotion to make everything work together. Askrinn is a representative of the one-man group and in my opinion he’s got the potential of becoming one of the top ones. The mastermind who stands behind this name is Valenten who demonstrates his talent on a number of levels. First off, running a one-man project is tough and requires a lot of knowledge in design, marketing, communication and music. Valenten seems to be doing all this seamlessly and Askrinn’s new album”Hjørleifsljóð” is the sweetest fruit of his hard work.
“Hjørleifsljóð” immerses the listener in the “Saga of Half“; a four-chapters Icelandic saga, which was written in the 14th century. You can read more about it here. Askrinn has made an adaptation with his new opus “Hjørleifsljóð” that resonates the might of pagan black metal. From a musical point of view, this record has made a huge leap forward. The sound is very mature and heavy reflecting how each element was treated carefully in order to match the primeval meaning of the saga. Storytelling is essential for “Hjørleifsljóð”. Therefore, you can find a brief explanation beneath each song of what story it is connected to [see tracklist below].
Speaking of texts, I cannot pass by the enormous courage that Askrinn shows in the new album. All lyrics are written in archaic Norse language in order to feel as close as possible to the legendary saga. One of the things that I’ve favorited instantly is the vocal performance. So mystical and esoteric that makes every story come real. It’s absolutely mandatory to mention that Askrinn honored the Hungarian pagan metallers Bornholm by covering “Hymn To The Forgotten Pagan Gods”. It’s been such a pleasure to see how Valenten took this epic track and carried it out in the vein of his band’s sounding.
All in all, if you are a pagan black metal fan, I’d certainly recommend you to check out “Hjørleifsljóð”. It’s high quality in every manner. Do take into consideration that the CDs are extremely limited, so if you are a collector, better hurry up with your pre-order. While waiting, listen to one song from the new album below.
Note: Limited CD edition to 60 pieces. The price is fixed to 10 EU inc. shipping.
1. Bjarmalandsfør Hjørleifs konungs – Hjørleif sails to Bjarmaland, marries Hild the Slender. On his way back home, he stumbles upon a brunnmigi (fictional creature) who warns him about the future.
2. Hjørleifr mægðist við Hreiðar konung – Hjørleif sails to Denmark and marries Hringja. On their way back, the woman falls ill and dies very quickly. When her brother retrieves her casket, he assumes that Hjørleif killed her.
3. Frá spám marmennils – A merman is caught by two fishermen and brought to Hjørleif. The creature reveals some prophecy related to the King, before going back to the sea.
4. Frá konungum, Hjørleifi ok Hreiðari – Hringja’s father (Hreidar) comes at night to Hjørleif’s house and attacks it. He then flies away with Hjørleif’s wives. Later the king travels to Hreidar’s palace. Captured, he is freed by Hild and kills Hreidar.
5. Hymn To The Forgotten Pagan Gods (Bornholm cover)
Total running time: 34:09