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Album Review

Sonne Hagal – “Helfahrt” – [Eis Und Licht]

Thurston Hunger   8/3/2015   A Library, CD

2002 black forest pagan folk, well from the darkened
forests of Berlin. I think the band’s name refers to
Sun and a symbol that looks like an ancient asterisk,
and may refer to hail. That would fit their desire to
walk in a mix of darkness/light. Even to the point
of not making clear the band members. Oh well. Most
songs are anchored in acoustic instruments, guitar
strummed at the center, some violin, add in a gentle
electric bass. Lyrics touch upon the natural world,
the time for harvest, the return of the sun, and at
one point “let the runes confuse your mind” (during
“Midwinternight”). There’s a nod to William Blake,
the band pipes along to two of Blake’s greatest hits.
At times they work in some electronics, like on
the warbly, haunting “The Runes Are Still Alive.”
Another track, “Futhark” refers to a form of runes,
and catalogs several as a drum machine celebrates.
I guess that is what gets these kind of “dark folk”
bands into the sacred temples of metal fans, by being
pre-Christian, they are inherently anti-Christian?
This band is very polished and melodic though,
“Raidho” (another runic phrase for the ride or the
journey) starts like a lost relic from the days of
Slowdive.
-Thurston Hunger

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