Carved in Stone – Hear the Voice

Carved in Stone – Hear the Voice – 4.5/5

And I’m bending my own rules for this release, satisfying the requirement for being folk with ease, with plenty of pagan and Viking themes throughout, it is not by any stretch of the imagination metal. Rather an acoustic and vocally driven ambient folk album, it nonetheless is a joy to listen to. Composed entirely by one woman, who’s only other notable musical contribution consist of keyboard work for a Folk/Black Metal band, she performs here without a trace of her musical roots, which is rather impressive by itself.

There is the occasional presence of other instruments, notably the occasional use of keyboards and harp, and even the flute in ‘Jeg Ladge Meg Sa Slide,’ but they are done quietly in the mix, so as to enhance the tone created through use of guitar and vocals, wherein the focus lies. The guitars aren’t technical, but rather are used to create a peaceful and melancholic atmosphere. Don’t expect any virtuoso work, but this isn’t an artist limited to basic chord structures, the riffs have been carefully worked out to fit with the theme of the song.

This is an album dominated by gentle emotions, greatly assisted by the entrancing vocal work. Even the lyrics, which I usually pay little attention to deserve a notable mention, with tracks such as ‘Warrior and Man’ speaking of the greed of man, ‘Invictus,’ which uses the poem of the same name, originally written by English poet William Ernest Henley, or ‘Last Words’ intended as the last words spoken as death awaits, however, rather than take an overly depressive tone with such a morbid theme, takes a different approach, which she succeeds in explaining far better than I could.

“I lived a life full of pride
and a new life now shall begin:
Valhalla´s gates are opened wide
and proudly I walk in.” – Last Words

In fact, the main disappointment with the album was the fact that more than half the tracks are sung entirely in German and I’m thus unable to understand them.

The production is minimalist, fitting for a raw, down to earth sound that does nothing but enhance the atmosphere, and something that has been done to perfection. This is an album that nearly hit the top mark for me, and with comprehension of the rest of the tracks is quite possible that it would have. Definitely worth the effort for anyone interested in this style of music.

Highlights: Last Words, Warrior and Man, Invictus

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