Nearly six years in the making, WARDRUNA's long-awaited debut album, "Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga", is the first part of the planned "Runaljod" trilogy which will musically interpret the runes of the elder futhark. This highly visual music is hard to place into any specific genre, and there isn't really much to compare it to. The style can perhaps be described as a curious blend of folk, world and ambient music, but without being limited by the sometimes restricted scope of these genres.
WARDRUNA was started by Einar "Kvitrafn" Selvik (JOTUNSPOR, GORGOROTH) and Gaahl (GORGOROTH) as a project in 2002 to explore and evoke the depths of Norse wisdom and spirituality.
"My goal with WARDRUNA is to bring Baldr home where he belongs", explains Gaahl, who stresses that Einar is the driving creative force behind WARDRUNA.
"Originally we were supposed to be doing everything together, basically, but it has become [Einar] that has been working out the musical side and then I joined up, helping out a bit with the lyrics and a good deal of the vocals," Gaahl says.
"Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga" has a very profound and unique sound that consists of a wide array of instruments, some of which are rarely used. A few examples: deer hide frame drums, mouth harp, goat horns, lur, Hardanger fiddle and tagelharpe ("viking fiddle"). Sounds of more unorthodox "instruments" like trees, stones and fire are also incorporated into the music, and it's all topped off with powerful vocal performances from no less than three vocalists.
The concept is the musical interpetation of the Germanian rune alphabet (Futhark). WARDRUNA uses eight runes from which it constructs a constellation. "From there the music starts and the goal is eventually to bring the god Baldr to Walhalla," Gaahl says. "At first we've taken eight of the runes, what I see as the cornerstones or what I call the circle of Hagal."
Each of the three albums will feature eight runes, but not in accordance with the order of the three aettirs (families), which is most commonly used.
"Runaljod - Gap Var Ginnunga" will feature the following runes:
Gaahl agrees the theme is somewhat mystical and hard to get. "I don't explain magic but they are tied together [somehow]," he smiles.
Video footage of Gaahl talking to Holland's FaceCulture about WARDRUNA can be viewed below.