Bret Rumbeck
Writer
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Here you'll find reviews of music, discussion of sports, social/political commentary and thoughts on the professional world. 

Odin Rejoices with The Flight of Sleipnir's Latest Release Skadi

About two years ago, I was surfing around on Bandcamp and found a band with a radical name: The Flight of Sleipnir. As you know, I prejudge bands by name, album title and album art. These are critical assets to consider when you want to catch the keen eye of a music junkie.

I clicked Follow, with the full intention of going back later in the day to listen to my find, and revel in my musical genius. But, I didn’t listen for a week or so. Only the gods can remember why, but I continue to bear the heavy guilt equivalent to Arther Dimmsdale for this musical sin.

Once I finally did listen to The Flight of Sleipnir (TFOS), I realized my crime against Odin and have kept TFOS in my weekly music rotation. I’m half Norwegian, and can only hope Alföðr can forgive my treachery, and one day remove this scarlet letter from my breast.

On Friday, while we were busy discussing the American carnage (or making America great, it was hard to distinguish), TFOS released their sixth full-length album titled Skadi, named for the Norse goddess Skaði. She was often associated with winter, skiing, bowhunting and mountains.

TFOS takes the viking genre far beyond the rainbow bridge to Asgard. They’ve borrowed various forms of metal - black, folk, psychedelic, doom, stoner and prog with touches of ethereal and ambient noise - combined with lyrics that dive deep into Old Norse mythology to give your ears a bleak, distant and sometimes hopeful song. 

Skadi is an epic adventure with the goddess and a pack of howling wolves in her snowy mountains on an icy Norwegian night. 

The full essence and full range of TFOS is captured in two songs: 'Earthen Shroud' and 'Falcon White'. 

Earthen Shroud starts with a medieval, folksy, clean guitar with a tambourine keeping time. The song builds a bit, and takes us to a short breakdown with an organ or mellotron playing softly. It’s reminiscent of underground 1970s prog bands. 

At the 4 minute mark, there’s a shift in direction, almost as if they are ready to close the track. However, they’ve channeled Loki and tricked the listener. At 5 minutes, we’re back to vocal chanting and double kick drums. The lead guitar and rolling drums that close the song are amazing. I can’t wait to see them play this live.

I’m a sucker for music that builds layers and complexities slowly, which is why 'Falcon White' is the best song on Skadi. It stats with chimes, bells and cymbals, and then those fade completely. The music continues to build, the guitar plays a fantastic hook and then those chilling black metal vocals kick to take us into the Norse mythos.

The 5:50 mark is TFOS in all their Asgardian glory. It’s the song’s peak, and all the instruments come together, driven by a heavy drum background.  'Falcon White' fades quietly, like the last Norwegian sunset before a long, dark winter, as Skaði readies herself for a winter hunt.

You have no excuse for not buying this album from TFOS or any of their previous works, especially if you consider yourself a fan of metal. This band is the epitome of talent that is unrecognized by mainstream radio. Skadi is an $8 download on Bandcamp, the same price as each of their previous releases. As usual, you can stream the album for free before you buy it, and enhance your musical genius by listening to my collection.

Finally, if any of the members of TFOS read this: Seriously. Please play Boise. We are the ignored (read: skipped) city of the Pacific Northwest. I'll buy you beer and/or cook you a hearty meal.