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Gjallarhorn - Sjofn CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

4.24 | 13 ratings

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The Prognaut
Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Sjofn" is undoubtedly the sort of album that deserves not only your complete attention when you're listening to it, but more than a couple of ears to let it flow into your depths. All you need to do is sharpen up your senses by turning them into one at the time you're closing your eyes and kicking back to the music. This is the band's second album, and yet it sounds particularly strange, like nothing we have heard before by the Finnish quartet led by the celestial voice of Jenny WILHELMS; which to my concern, is one of the most revealing female leading voices of the nowadays prog scene and the one that has been eternally consistent. Sometimes it's quite inevitable to think of Emila DERKOWSKA (who stepped out of Polish band QUIDAM last year as many of you might know) or Magdalena HAGBERG of PLP when listening to Jenny's voice, but each one of them sound off absolutely different when compassed with the very own instrumentation put together by the band to bring out their voices and charisma. And speaking of instrumentation, when I recently discovered GJALLARHORN, I resembled their work to the one accomplished by legendary Swedish band ÄNGLAGÅRD in the early nineties, but surprisingly to me, the Finnish band was also formed during that decade, so maybe it could've existed some kind of feedback in between the Nordic bands due the proximities and the remains of culture both countries share and since GJALLARHORN is part of the ancestral Swedish community settled in Finland. The symphonic arrangements in "Sjofn" are practically impossible to tell apart from the "Hybris" and "Epilog" ones, so you might as well, listen to them separately.

The perfect blend of acoustic instruments and beautiful nature sounds make Jenny's voice carry the whole album away magically with the anticipation of African rhythms or mythical didgeridoo as in "Suvetar" and "Näcken och Junfrun" respectively. In "Su Ru Ruskadirej", Jenny exploits her voice so beautifully that makes the entire album worth-listening and entitles this song as the one standing up for the rest. Apart from the musical numbers I just described, there are many others that deserve special attention because of the difficulty and inconveniences of making instrumental passages convincing; particularly medieval suite "Bergfäst" and "Orvais". As I suggested, the arrangements are exceptional, the instrumentation is sweetly performed and the sensitiveness is in the air ready to be absorbed, even by the most exigent ears. There's nothing but flawless songs on this album.

So original, impressive and fresh, that incites to be imitated; the Finnish band style is as pure as polished that some other folkloric/art rock bands could easily look up to them. I think DJAM KARET or NETHERWORLD could learn a thing or two from the Nordic quartet as well. This production is, fearlessly to be wrong about recommending it; impeccable and a must to unpredictable and audacious proggers. You'll get hooked on their music.

The Prognaut | 5/5 |


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