Soon—very soon in fact, on March 11th—France’s iconic Season of Mist imprint will unleash a modern saga from two titans of the Northern lands in the debut album from Skuggsjá, A Piece for Mind & Mirror: a collaborative experiment between Norsemen Einar Selvik (Wardruna) and Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved), neither of whom are likely to be strangers to our readership. Brought to life as a means of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution, Skuggsjá is—through its very birthright—far more than a simple melding of two of Norway’s most profound artistic minds. It’s a love letter to country and tradition, a historical nod to Norway’s two-century development since, and a remembrance of the bloody, brutal era in which it found its independence at the tail-end of the Napoleonic Wars. In essence, Skuggsjá is an aural mirror, allowing Selvik and Bjørnson to see themselves both in the past and the present, looking forward yet seeing behind.
If you’ve already listened to Wardruna’s remarkable work before, you should have at least a vague clue as to what you’re going to hear with the track below, “Skuggsjá.” It’s a brilliant mixture of ancient instrumentation, Selvik’s unique and instantly recognizable vocal style, Proto-Scandinavian poetry, and that all-too-important wash of misty, epic Northern atmosphere. This isn’t just music that was strictly crafted after history; it’s an attempt at glimpsing the pure Platonic form of Norwegian identity.