SONNE HAGAL: Ockerwasser LP/CD Luftschutz/Tesco Distribution
It’s been a good six years since Sonne Hagal’s last album, ‘Jordansfrost’ and I had long forgotten just how good this act was.
‘Ockerwasser’ opens up serenely with ‘The Shapes of Things to Come’; and subtitled (wait for it) ‘A Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, Like a Fresh Draught From the Font of Universal Life!’ it doesn’t take an numbskull to envisage the nature of the tracks on this release.
Warm, inviting low-end male vocals, cascading pads and instrumentation, led with the gentle strumming of acoustic guitars; makes for some of the more quality driven Neo-Folk out there. Occasionally joined by other key artists within the genre, this trio deliver on every level, what they set out to achieve thematically. The poetic vocals hum like a chant across an autumn forest, breathing self-depreciation through an earthly vibration.
Tracks, such as ‘Silence’ say more about this album lyrically, in one fell swoop; “I am the Silence, the Eye of the Storm, I am Nothing, I am all”. It is this simplicity that makes SH work so well as a complete outfit. Never overstating themselves, they have once again delivered the goods, through a concise and collective understanding of musicianship with ever the watchful eye on production quality.
Apart from the odd delve into the “Hey Nonny Nonny” spectrum of folk music (which is to be expected I guess) ‘Ockerwasser’ is a solid, well constructed album that should appease their fans who have patiently waited a small age, for this to see the gloomy light of day.
SONNE HAGAL: Jordansfrost CD Luftschutz/Tesco Distribution
For the first couple of numbers Sonne Hagal plod along like most of the Neo-Folk artists that saunter around this genre and don’t immediately produce anything that stands out. Luckily from track three and most definitely track four ‘Das Letze Lied’ this German squad really come into their own, with gentle guitars, subtle horns and evocative vocals beautifully invoking an element of peace. ‘Jordansfrost’ crawls under your skin from here on in. Subject matter is the same as always within this scene, a heavy sullen pagan bliss, that is pleasantly soothing with its earthly realism and simplistic music that is welcome and heart warming. Expertly aided by the likes of ‘Of The Wand and The Moon’, ‘Waldteufel’, ‘Darkwood’ and ‘In a Gowan Ring’ amongst others, it’s not going to take much to imagine just how this sounds in its entirety. What you do have is a fantastic release that flows wonderfully from track to track invoking a deep forest spirit; a joyous appraisal of everything good that this style of music can achieve when hearts and minds have come together to make a real effort. It’s been a fair while since I sat down and listened to a good dose of Neo-Folk and Sonne Hagal has got me in the mood again. It’s the sense of past times, olde worlde carnival spirits and dark elfish masquerades that have been long lost in history. A glorious approach that has been sorely lacking lately and one that old masters of the ranks should sit and take note of; thoroughly enjoyable, packaged solidly in three dimensional digi-pack, with glorious artwork. 8.5/10