Nytt Land - Odal
Cold Spring
Ambient Neofolk
9 songs (54'29")
Release year: 2018
Cold Spring
Reviewed by Alex

In my recent review of Heilung I have made a mention that I have a lot of respect of authentic well researched neo-pagan folk, however, it is not always easy for these albums to maintain interest throughout. Russian Nytt Land on Odal fell the same victim for me.

Atmosphere creation is a primary goal for Nytt Land and it is unquestionable they achieve it through the use of native percussion, like tambourines (Darraðarljóð / The Song of the Valkyries, Hávamál) or big hollow drums (Norður / Yule Song), strange grinding string instruments (Tagelharpa Song), something like bagpipe (Hávamál) and the whole different variety of vocal presentations. Here is shamanistic rhythmic exhaling (Darraðarljóð / The Song of the Valkyries), old man creaking (Hávamál), female singing using a special demanding throat technique or sounding almost hopelessly tragic (Ragnarök), floating above the fray. The family duo of Anatoly “Nordman” and Natalya “Krauka” Pakhalenko even brought their 4 yr old son Yuri (the first in metal that I know of) to have a philosophical echoing dialogue with on Deyr Fé / The Heritage, discussing the meaning of good deeds. For unusual instrumentation here is mouthharp pinging, harmonica, something even more weird (Midsommar) I have difficulty naming. Odal is as authentic as they come, and recording the native sound in western Sibir or northern Norway adds even more to authenticity, yet sticking through its whole 70 min is almost labor intensive.

In all my years in the old Soviet Union I have never visited east of the Ural mountains although I got to travel a good deal. Nytt Land, although Russian in origin, but lyrically Norwegian, touched on a lot of Norse points overall, captured the spirit of Siberia, or wherever the Ancient North is Nytt Land is placing it to be. Odal gives us a glimpse of those far away barren lands. Compositions like Ragnarök, the static and desolation of Midsommar, crunching snow in Norður / Yule Song all translate the hardships of living in that inhospitable land. Sitting in the dark, by the fire, in some yurt, thinking of the next day trying to make a living, or visiting with the spirits, there is no rush or cheery outlook. However, does it all has to be so prolonged and stretched like it gets in Deyr Fé / The Heritage , Völuspá and Sigrdrífumál / The Ballad of The Victory-Bringer towards the end of the Odal? For Nytt Land the answer is probably in the affirmative, as they think these songs are almost trance inducing. If you don’t, however, completely succumb to these incantations, you must summon the patience, and all of it.

Years ago when my older child was a baby she wouldn’t fall asleep easily. We had to rock her and then I discovered that playing North American Indian native chants helped to pacify her. Odal would do that as well, and while excellent for the baby the dad might want to stay awake, so proceed with caution.

Killing Songs :
Ragnarok
Alex quoted 70 / 100
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