Undirheimar - Heljarrúnar [Cyclic Law - 2020]Mysterious and evocative, Undirheimar's Heljarrúnar is the sonic representation of Thursian sorcery, practice, and inner workings. Based on primal musical themes, their latest album creates a oneness with the energy surrounding the listener and almost puts them directly into the cold forest or dark cave in which this ritual is being performed. Delivered mainly through vocal expression, Heljarrúnar taps into the human being, its connection to the world around it, and its ability to tap into Thursian energy.
Built around drones, percussion, chants and throat singing, Heljarrúnar quickly succeeds in building a ritualistic atmosphere. Dark and foreboding, this album surely isn't composed for proselytism, but rather for its own ritualistic purpose. Based in magic and shamanic practices, Undirheimar's sonic ritual builds and builds with dense layers of sounds, both synthesized and natural, and constructs a very evocative process of channeling and magic. The combination of ancient and modern (synthy drones and throat singing) greatly helps to show where Undirheimar stands in all of this, and where one is in the greater whole. Switching from highly propulsive and industrial ("Utgardr") to dark and reflective ("Enn Himinn Klôfnár"), Undirheimar covers all ground on Heljarrúnar. Although Thursian sorcery has its roots in frost and giants, Heljarrúnar brings forth images of blazing fires and subterranean shrines. Deep reverberations allow the throat singing to take on a larger than life persona, and elevate the whole into a vibrant, encompassing being. Wrapped in magic and ritual, the listener is protected and able to enjoy the album without interference.
Undirheimar's latest is a sumptuous ritual, fraught with magic and shamanistic procedures. Allowing a modern listener a glimpse into an ancient practice through current technology, Heljarrúnar is a sonic trip through the time worlds. While both artist and subject matter are mysterious, the album is done in such a way that it's fully accessible and able to be enjoyed by all, not just those that are in tune with the esoteric material. Paul Casey