Various Artists - Whom The Moon A Nightsong Sings
Disc 1: 12 songs (49:39) Disc 2: 9 songs (54:43)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Goat

All the tracks on this double-disc compilation has one thing in common – the songs are all about nature, “its sceneries and impressions” as the promotional material states, a respectful and romantic viewpoint that will appeal to any reader who enjoyed the likes of Les Discrets and Alcest. Neofolk is typically hard to pin down, but I like the label’s description of the music on here; it’s easy to stare at the lovely cover art and be swept away to dark woods, haunting meadows and moonlit streams. And as a compilation and introduction to Neofolk’s wonderful world, this is great stuff. It’s impossible not to enjoy the two short but sweet tracks from Vàli, delicate string-plucked pieces at barely a minute long, yet the bigger names here are what people will enjoy the most. Empyrium’s first new recording in four years is present, The Days Before The Fall a nicely ominous piece with careful percussion and mournful vocals that goes electric towards the end in a wonderful finish – and you’re only two tracks into the compilation!

Nest’s contribution Summer Storm, a slow atmospheric piece, is positively cinematic, fading to ambience and leaving you in a dreamlike state before the campfire reverie of Nebelung’s Ich Würd es Hören slowly brings you back to the real world. There’s also a rare Ulver track, from the underground compilation Souvenirs From Hell back in 1997. Synen is a dramatically-toned piece focused, like elsewhere, on the acoustic instruments but forming a unique mood which is sure to appeal to fans. Of course, those who dislike acoustic tracks generally will probably not get much out of even this. But for the rest of us, there’s an almost spiritual wholesomeness to acoustic music that makes it that much more enjoyable. I loved this compilation, despite being already familiar with some of the bands – the tracks are all exclusive and offer a good insight into the respective artists’ catalogues. So Dornenreich’s fiddle-enhanced Dem Wind Geboren, Neun Welten’s calm and reflective Pan, and Tenhi’s beautiful Kausienranta were all familiar in style if refreshing in execution.

The bands I hadn’t heard before were equally enjoyable, making for a balanced and interesting listen overall. Ainulindalë were new to me, their track focusing as much on the choral backing as the acoustics, and was very good indeed, and the two Les Discrets tracks reminded me to give their album another listen, as it got ignored at the time of release next to the latest Alcest. Havnatt’s female-fronted Dagen Og Natta was excellent, as was the closing fourteen minute-long track from Syven, How Fare The Gods? It’s a frighteningly intense bit of darkness, deep male vocals beneath ambience and light tribal percussion, rather like Dead Can Dance covering something by Goblin. Overall, whether you’re familiar with the genre, or looking for an easy entry, there really is something for everybody here. Prophecy have done a fantastic job of pulling it all together, making for an enjoyable compilation that, whilst not the final word on the genre, does make an excellent advertisement for the wonderful music within.

Killing Songs :
All, especially tracks from Empyrium, Nebelung, Havnatt, Dornenreich, Ulver, Neun Welten, Syven
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Various Artists that we have reviewed:
Various Artists - Brutal Africa: The Heavy Metal Cowboys of Botswana reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Various Artists - Servants of Chaos II reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Various Artists - In Mordor Where the Shadows Are - Homage to Summoning reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Various Artists - A Light in the Black : A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Various Artists - Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple's Machine Head reviewed by Stefan and quoted No Quote
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