Kati Rán – SÁLA

Sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. Over five years after Nordic dark folk artist Kati Rán released her single “Blodbylgje”, we get her exciting 13-track record “SÁLA”

Kati Rán previously released  a record with her band L.E.A.F. Now, nine years later, the Dutch vocalist, musician, songwriter, and producer will release “SÁLA” under Svarts Records. Named after the Old Norse word for “Soul” and “sea”, the record is described as an act of soul retrieval. And to be fair, listening to “SÁLA” does feel like a journey into the mind. Every track brings a new feeling with it and has its own soul.

For example, “HEFRING” and “BÁRA | Bósi” feel like they could be part of a game or tv show about vikings or other Norse Mythology. If you are a gamer, think of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla combined with The Witcher 3, almost like a song by Wardruna, yet with its own character. “KÓLGA | 16” is a spectral hymn, addressing female persecution through the ages.

Longest and most diverse track is the15-minute single “Blodbylgje”, originally released five years ago. This 15 minute long epos has dark undertones, a deep harmony in male and female vocals and because of the added effect of wood-creaking, it feels like you’re on a boat about to discover a new island, surrounded by old spirits. Sadly, the short track “DRÖFN | Drifting” shifts me a bit out of the mood setting because of the electric sounds.“STONE PILLARS”, which makes Kati Rán’s English song debut, is a dark atmospheric track. Another gem is “UNNR | Mindbeach”, where the vocal lines match up perfectly. With “HIMINGLÆVA”, all you need to do is close your eyes, and you will find yourself transported to Icelandic landscapes as your mind glides over rustic scenery. In these two tracks the vocal harmonies are superb. “BÁRA | Bósi” and “SEGIÐ MÉR” have a bit harsher vocals, bringing a flair of power. “SÁLA” closes with the track “Sátta” which is Old Norse for ‘peace’ and ‘reconciliation’. It ends the album as it began; with the bukkehorn.

What is clearly felt throughout the whole record is this general sense of communion. You feel one with nature. Maybe that’s because of where “SÁLA” is recorded, namely in a barn in Húsafell, Iceland, but also in  Finland, Norway and The Netherlands. Vocals in the record range from Norwegian, Old Norse, Icelandic, and, for the first time, English.

Collaboration is a main thread throughout “SÁLA” too. Working closely together with Finnish producer Jaani Peuhu, there are contributions from extreme metal vocalist Gaahl, the Icelandic female choir Umbra Ensemble, renowned Norwegian jazz musician Karl Seglem, Björk and Brian Eno contrabassist Borgar Magnason, members of pagan folk acts Völuspá, Gealdýr, Heilung and Theodor Bastard and even Napalm Death’s Mitch Harris on vocals.

“SÁLA” is an immersive voyage for the mind, body and soul. Nearly every track has its own charm and brings a different state of mind. Close your eyes, lay down and let this record bring you on your own journey, I promise you will feel at least a bit recovered after.

Rating: 9/10
Release Date: May 24th 2024
Label: Svart Records

Writer: Michael

Tracklist:

  1. SÁLA
  2. HEFRING
  3. KÓLGA | 16
  4. BLODBYLGJE
  5. DRÖFN | Drifting
  6. STONE PILLARS
  7. DÚFA | Sleeping
  8. UNNR | Mindbeach
  9. HIMINGLÆVA
  10. HRÖNN
  11. BÁRA | Bósi
  12. SEGIÐ MÉR
  13. SÁTTA

 

Michael Brookhuis

Hi, my name is Michael, I'm from The Netherlands and next to writing here, I love writing about games, nature and art. My love for metal started around the age of sixteen, when the more mainstream bands like Evanescence, Within Temptation and Linkin Park were more of a thing and actually on the radio. Later on, my taste in music broadened and nowadays I listen to a lot of subgenres. From Power Metal like Sonata Arctica, symphonic like Ayreon, Doom like Draconian and more, I don’t think it would be easy to pin-point any specific sub-genre that would be my favorite. Lately my playlist consisted of Epica, Heilung, Katatonia, Dark Tranquillity, Nightwish, Kamelot and more, it all depends on my mood. But I think a lot of us feel the same way. Metal-Exposure for me is a group of same-minded individuals that through music have found a connection which makes us friends.

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