[schema type=”review” name=”Faun – Midgard” description=”Label: Electrola/We Love Music” author=”Basak Günel” pubdate=”2016-08-19″ ]
In the world of medieval/pagan-folk music, Faun is one of the bands that is known and admired by many. Formed in 2002, they have been delivering us authentic music which makes them unique in this genre. 2 years after the previous release “Luna”, they are back with “Midgard”!
Anyone who has a bit of an interest in the Norse mythology will more or less guess what the album is about… “Midgard” deals with the elements from the Nordic/Germanic mythology and tells us their interpretations from this vast concept. In albums like this, I always look for certain melodies or elements which will take me to a journey in the North. As soon as I heard the news of Faun making a record about Nordic mythology, I was beyond excited and the expectations were high as well.
There are some positive and negative aspects to “Midgard”. Overall, the record contains some songs which are magical, beautiful and catchy. In this sense, the record will entertain the lovers of this genre. I remember my parents listening to “Federkleid” and wanting me to order the album as soon as possible! 😀 So the album is definitely earcandy… but in a rather ‘mainstream’ and ‘commercial’ way. You can tell that the band has studied this concept quite well and as always, the perfect harmony of male/female vocals as well as the amazing instruments form the highlight.
At this point, you might be saying “OK, so what’s wrong about this record then?”… After spinning it a few times, I tried really hard to catch that spark and the Northern vibe but sadly, this Northern spirit lacks in the record. In my opinion, a record like “Midgard” should not be so catchy or ‘earcandy’ but it should be spiritual and even ambient. I even felt like the record was too ethnic or had this ‘international’ vibe; surely, Faun has always had a unique interpretation to even known songs but I would have expected more ‘atmospheric’ and even ‘dark’ elements and less catchy tunes plus the overproduced sound. I also gotta mention that in the recent years, the band’s success has grown a lot. They have been signed with a big record label and even took part in the auditions for the Eurovision Song Contest last year..This growing success has been the reason of the criticism by the fans who think that the essence of the band’s sound has rather vanished and this might also be the case with “Midgard”. Faun could have done much better in a record like “Midgard” but apart from some highlights, the album is unfortunately quite mediocre. If a newcomer pagan-folk band had composed this record, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed but with a band like Faun, the expectations are quite high.
Despite this disappointment, there are some beautiful highlights in the record. “Odin”, which features Wardruna‘s Einar Selvik as guest vocalist, is probably one of the most powerful and amazing songs Faun has ever composed (Einar Selvik effect maybe?). As a matter of fact, if the rest of the record had sounded like that vibe in “Odin”, it would have been perfect… Apart from that, in songs like “Gold und Seide” and “Aufbruch”, we see the great power of the female and male vocals of the band once again. For the lovers of the romance, “MacBeth” is definitely recommended. A surprise for me was definitely “Alba II Intro” and “Alba II”, which will sound familiar to the ‘dedicated’ fanbase of the band.
“Midgard” will surely entertain the lovers of this genre but it’s sad to know that Faun could have composed a much better album which deals with the Norse mythology. Let’s see how the band’s sound will develop in the upcoming years.
Oliver S. Tyr – vocals, Irish bouzouki, nyckelharpa, mandocello, celtic harp, saz, tar, guitar & various lutes.
Fiona Rüggeberg – vocals, bagpipes, flutes, rebab, recorder, fujara, seljefloit, harmonium, chalumeaux & pommer.
Katja Moslehner – vocals, percussion
Stephan Groth – vocals, hurdy-gurdy, cistern, whistles
Rüdiger Maul – darabouka, davul, bendir, tamborello, riq, berimbao & other percussion instruments
Niel Mitra – computer sampler & synthesizer
01. Midgard Prolog
03. Sonnenreigen (Lughnasad)
04. Alba II Intro
05. Alba II
06. Nacht des Nordens
08. Gold und Seide
12. Lange Schatten