Lughnasadh MMXVII by IsenordalRelease date: September 11, 2017
Label: Hanged Man Recordings
We’re a bit late for the harvest, but the record Lughnasadh MMXVII is well worth to listen to even in December. The creators of this doomy piece of neo-folk is the band Isenordal, who don’t hail from the Celtic lands but the Cascadian region in the United States.
The title refers to the Celtic feast of harvest time, which is a theme the band has been happily pursuing also on their previous release, Imbolc MMXVII, which embraces the fertility-feast earlier in the year. I expect two more records to follow, perhaps next year. The band has members in the ranks from Endorphins Lost, Wilt, and Thunder Grey Pilgrim, which is a good sign for something innovative and that is definitely what Isenordal brings to the table.
Not unimportant to mention is that this is an acoustic EP, so when you listen to their ‘Shores of Mourning’ album, you’ll receive full blown black doom, that I can only easily compare to where Myrkur meets Loss in its artsy grandeur. Enfin, opening track ‘Inevitable Product of the Foretold’ is where the band explores their folk side with gentle voices. In hushed tones we hear Kerry Hall singing over finger picked guitar, as the mournful voice of Marisa Kay Janke comes in. After a short part of melancholic, angelic singing, Isenordal lets the demon out in harsh, black metal vocals. The music doesn’t change though, offering that tranquil pond of folk music to simply wallow in.
The combination of the elements works very well and you feel captivated easily by the music of Isenordal. What I particularly like is how the abstract lyrics work very well for the theme of the record, the seasonal changes. This also helps in bringing folk music closer to the roots, since most of these old songs would have been highly ritualistic and bound up with traditions. Isenordal captures this on their EP. The second track is ‘Dissolution into the Earth’, which equally evokes that feeling of yearning and loss, with a long introduction. The vocals really work their magic here as well, with vile barks emphasizing the lyrics.
This is a peculiar record and what I dislike about it is the length. I would love to bask in their sound longer, let my thoughts wander on a walk through the woods and for that a good 12 minutes is simply not enough. If the band has covered all seasons, I recommend a compilation. Send me a copy.