Seidr – Ginnungagap

Ginnungagap blueGinnungagap begins with a sitar unfolding over an enormous soundscape of elongated chants, shimmering tremolo guitar, and noisy, crumbling drones. But it isn’t an ambient album. It’s followed by smouldering, Sabbath-esque doom riffs, crushing and mournful death-doom melodies, and post-metal dissonance/sweetness. But it doesn’t fully fit into any of those styles in such a way that would make it appropriate to refer to it with a simple genre title. Rather, Seidr weaves all of these elements into a cohesive whole that is unique and, more importantly, absolutely Heavy in every sense of the word. And this isn’t your everyday heavy either; it’s the collapsing, iron core of a star going supernova fucking Heavy.

Of course, Seidr aren’t treading entirely new ground, or rather space, here; they had already established themselves as an uncommonly singular band in the realm of doom metal with their debut For Winter Fire. It was a sonically crushing, genre eluding, intensely emotional album, as intricately crafted as it was bluntly visceral. As much as I love that album, I have to say that Ginnungagap makes it look completely amateurish in comparison. The songwriting is simultaneously more ambitious and focused, with a strong sense of travel and change throughout the album. This is a vital quality for a band writing songs as long as 25 minutes (!!!) long, and Seidr shows an excellent sense for reining in these massive tracks with only the most essential riffs and constant variation from ominous dirges, triumphant ascents from the darkness, cold and unearthly electronics, and even a rousing, beautiful folk track.

Beyond the bare constellation structure of Ginnungagap, Seidr infuses these tracks with some of the most gorgeous, rich, layered, and downright radiant texture you are likely to ever hear in the genre. Ghostly voices and glimmering synthesizers spread over the cosmos like radiant nebulae, distant samples like radio transmissions from a long dead earth haunt the darkness between the stars, reverberating strings and glittering clean guitar immerse the listener in galaxies of spinning lights, and the highly diverse vocals have the depth of light-devouring black holes… It’s an incredible level of detail that does justice to both the cold emptiness and the abundant diversity of the greater universe.

And though Seidr’s gaze is turned skywards, this isn’t a meditation on a lifeless and frozen universe. I don’t have access to the lyrics, but from what I have been able to pick up, and based simply on how the albums feels, I would say Ginnungagap is ultimately an album about human relation to the wider, grander, terrifying universe. The ecstatic conclusion to “A Blink of the Cosmic Eye”, or the chills-down-the-spine hymn of “As You Return” suggest a deeply spiritual connection to the greater-than-human universe we so briefly inhabit. While Ginnungagap is best listened to as a whole (with headphones on, laying on the floor, sinking deeply into the vibrations), I have to mention the 25 minute long closer “Sweltering II – A Pale Blue Dot in the Vast Dark”. It’s an immense, mournful elegy to the Earth and its eventual end. It is, without any hyperbole, a profoundly moving piece of music, and when Chet Scott’s vocals tear through the firmament… Well, it’s one of the most heart wrenching things I’ve ever heard. This is what it’s all about. -Jake

Bindrune Recordings

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~ by jakemoran on August 7, 2013.

One Response to “Seidr – Ginnungagap”

  1. Mandatory purchase for me, when will it be released? Playing For Winter Fire next in celebration, hail Seidr!

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