BY NORSE A solo summoning from the outskirts of time Continuing his dramatic sonic evolution, Wardruna founder Einar Selvik returns with a spectral collection of solo pieces and Wardruna songs that he’s performed solo over the years, recorded live in a studio. Skald is essentially a solo album, with Einar performing the tracks accompanied by little more than the coarse thrum of a lyre or the mournful pluck of a harp. Stripped down, skaldic versions of
Fehu and closer Helvegen
(from 2013’s Runaljod –
Yggdrasil), dovetail perfectly into the bleak intimacy of
Voluspá and the title track. The ineffable beauty of these compositions lies in their potent and unguarded sense of solitude; performed with ancient instruments and sung in the old Norse tongue, you can practically hear the crackle of a fire or the whistle of an icy gale crossing the water. Haunting and immersive, sometimes the heaviest sounds are the ones between the notes.