Gåte – Nord: Album Review

Gåte find strength in small things as they dive back into their Norwegian folk roots.


Release date: 3rd December 2021

Label: Indie Recordings

Format: CD / Digital / Vinyl

Folk Music but not as we know it Jim. With Metal Hammer featuring their new single, Gåte appeal to a broad church.

Their current mission has been to rein in the scale on which they deliver. Exaggeration, grand gestures, extravagant and exuberant live shows might be their regular practice, yet Nord sees them exploring their potential through more acoustic and restrained (to an extent) template.

First impressions of the follow up album to the Til Nord EP released back in April – the word that comes to mind after several run throughs of Nord is Pagan. No need to worry that the attempts to simplify are no less dynamic or intense. While the closing pairing of Jomfrua Ingebjørg and Sjåaren might be the most representative of the acoustic moments, the set doesn’t hold back on delivering a stirring and evocative soundtrack. The lyrical inspiration ensures that, being sourced from the deepest Norwegian folklore; mountain trolls, fruitful forests, trapped princesses, spirits, the meaning of life, local legends and the usual love stories.

Talande Tunger leads us off on a percussive march with all manner of instruments combined, beaten and shaken, to create a hypnotic shaman dance. The effect is positively tribal and imposing and not for the only time. Alongside the more mellow aspects of Nord, powerful and epic pieces delve deep into the musical past of their country, with a most contemporary approach. Within the opening minutes, we encounter some pastoral traditional singing punctuated by grunts and the first of regular bouts of intertwining rhythms. That rhythmic assault is a key feature of Nord where the album teaser Svik, throws in waves of drama and aggression as we cross from Celtic and Clannadesque atmospheres into more fearsome invocations and ethnic Byzantine swirls.

The tales of their homeland are given a thoroughly entrancing workout. Sigurd Og Troilbrura switches from angelic fantasy passages to drones and chants that conjure up images of gatherings around the fires in dark woodlands. There’s nothing like the organic sound that pours from those authentic wooden instruments.

There’s also no doubt that the exercise in challenging themselves has resulted in the creation of a stirring and evocative collection. An experiment from the quartet of Gunnhild Sundli, Magnus Børmark, Sveinung Sundli and Jon Even Schærer that’s an unqualified success.

Here’s the video for Svik from the album:

Gåte online: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Youtube

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