Freya Aswynn & 6Comm - _The Fruits of Yggdrasil_
(Hau Ruck / Wir Kapitulieren Niemals / Tesco, 2008)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (1 out of 10)
1987. Somewhere in the musical heart of London, a Dutch Asatru priestess (the somewhat famous Freya Aswynn) and an English postpunk experimentalist (Patrick Leagas, aka 6Comm) are working on a concept piece of art -- aptly named _The Fruits of Yggdrasil_. The music is a collage of ancient Scandinavian poetry and extravagant modern soundscapes. Initially, this 2008 reissue of the original album (which sold out long, long ago) does sound tempting to any neofolk / industrial fan. And yet, it is not quite what one might expect.

_The Fruits of Yggdrasil_ is a pretentious and rather tedious affair altogether. Mixing Wicca-inspired New Age Norse occultism with often psychotic '80s postpunk experimental sound and an occasional inclusion of piano and folk undertones, it rarely hits the right note.

Patrick, a former Death in June conspirator, is responsible for all of the instrumental background, which is sparse but sometimes fitting -- including mainly keyboards and samples, but also a drum machine, military trumpets, horns and ritualistic percussion. Still, the core of the album is formed around Aswynn's vocals, which were probably intended to be shamanic and evocative but turn out to be annoyingly high, even hysterical at times, not to mention atrociously recorded. Anyone who thought Andrea Hagen's voice sounded disastrously out of tune on Hagalaz' Runedance's albums should listen to the inhuman "Sigdrifamal", as our self-proclaimed magical Norse damsel squeals the names of the runes.

Another major drawback is the exclusive use of English. Not only would Icelandic have served better the reciting of pagan poetry, but Freya's ludicrous accent makes what would otherwise have been perceived as words of might sound like a bloody bad joke.


(article published 17/9/2008)

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