Of the Wand and the Moon - _Sonnenheim_
(HeiĆ°runar Myrkrunar / Tesco, 2005)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (9 out of 10)
I doubt that anyone, including Kim Larsen himself, realised how wise his decision was to leave everything metal behind and head into the realms of neo-folk. For what he had with Saturnus was a bunch of decent doom albums, nothing more; what he has with Of the Wand and the Moon is magical. Three albums and a heap of vinyl releases after his 1999 debut, _Nighttime Nightrhymes_, Kim is still following his musical path, and still going strong.

The very first impression of _Sonnenheim_ is the radical design change. Whereas the layout of all previous releases was predominantly sombre, this album comes in a deluxe white digipack with golden imprints, pagan imagery and the inevitable life-affirming odal rune. This makes sense when bearing in mind the name of the album. The music itself hasn't changed a whole lot. _Sonnenheim_ delivers the expected dose of subtle, beautifully arranged and melancholy woven neo-folk -- simple and moving. Strumming guitar, whispers, organ and accordion (guest appearance by Forseti's Andreas Ritter), pagan poetry, woeful verses, hymns to friendship, love and mysticism.

As is often the case with this band, it's hard to point out highlights, but "Nighttime in Sonnenheim" and "Hail Hail Hail 2" leave the strongest impression. Ultimately, Of the Wand and the Moon manages to surprise and please without striding away from the formula of simplicity or compromising the initial concept behind the project.

A truly beautiful record.

Contact: http://www.ofthewandandthemoon.dk

(article published 29/1/2006)

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