ALBUM REVIEW: Mann (Reissue) – Sowulo

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SOWULO re-release their second record Mann, a tribute to pagan shamanism and the contemplation of the human condition. Keeping in mind the four archetypes of warrior, lover, king and magician, the record looks to remind us of our inner journeys and to connect with ourselves.

The album opens with the captivating Gāstcyning, a track which calls out across the plains of your imagination and plays with rhythms that instantly engage you. With this being a folk record, vocals are an integral build up of not only any spoken meaning, but the tone and melody. Harmonies of voices breathing as one create great chords and add drama to many of the tracks, through Wulfwiga and Heahlufu to Faegru Fara. In the same vein, undercurrents of a deep, primal energy are expelled from the forceful vocals. This is used only sporadically, and to great effect in songs like Sceadugenga in harmony with the string work and paced beats.

More expansive songs like Brego In Breoste pull heavily from the work of the orchestral movements, and are layered with these deep vocal chants that pull a hypnotic, introspective mood over you, making the four and a half minutes appear to run much quicker. It’s a tapestry of ideas, and the moods throughout Mann are all very emotionally tied to the shamanistic ideas and practises, wherein the music feels as much of a healing process as anything else. Slincan Snican has the tranquil touch of another world, its methodical beat and organic feel especially captivating.

There’s something a little darker in places on Mann too, with tracks like Innra Aecer, which plays with deeper tones and instrumentation, and more prominently forceful vocals. Likewise, Beraboarn takes the more unnerving, unfamiliar side of mysticism and creates a clouded, serene amalgamation of soft vocal calls and drawn out, lingering strings that become more urgent and unpredictable as the drumming morphs into a harsher beat.

There are points within this record that look to focus on an individual, that feel personal and perhaps encourage private reflection. Others encourage community and collaboration, which is the feeling you get from Deoplicu Dearf and final track Wohs Wildum.

Overall, Mann is a meditative experience that will satisfy any modern folk fan. The vocals range from clean and crisp, to a style akin to throat singing that brings in a dimension you might not initially be expecting, but a welcome and accomplished attrition to the textures SOWULO weave across Mann. The work is well crafted and the overall experience is tranquil and reflective, leaving you refreshed with a sense of yourself.

Rating: 7/10

Mann (reissue) - Sowulo


Mann is set for release on February 25th via By Norse Music

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The post ALBUM REVIEW: Mann (Reissue) – Sowulo appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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