Review at Heathen Harvest :
Of the Wand and the Moon has returned to the neofolk arena with yet another powerful album
of shamanistic heathen neofolk.
“Sonnenheim” is Of the Wand and the Moon’s first full length album in two years
following the release of the mini CD “Midnight Will,” the 7” vinyl “Hail, Hail, Hail”
and the widely acclaimed full length album “Lucifer” released in 2003.”
Containing fifteen songs and a play time of nearly fifty-four minutes
“Sonnenheim” continues the poetic and spiritual legacy
that has established Of the Wand and the Moon as one of the leading voices
in the heathen / esoteric inspired neofolk music scene.
“Sonnenheim” sees Of the Wand and the Moon delving deeper than ever before
into heathen inspired themes of honor, kinship, resistance, worship, nature, and magick.
Using poetry and allusive references Kim Larsen communicates his experiences
and insights with finesse and grace. Kim is able to weave a spell
that seduces the listener into a remembrance of things faint
and almost forgotten by wrapping insightful poetry in dreamy acoustic instrumentation
and swaying electronic keyboards.
Values, insights, and experiences are thoughtfully shrouded in song craft
and left for the listener to find and initiate.
The listening experience is intimate and devoid of force or proselytizing.
Those with an open heart and a knowledge of self, spirit
and ancestry will find “Sonnenheim” to be an unparalleled journey through elusive spiritual experiences.
Much can be garnished from “Sonnenheim” by those who have sought the runes and the path of the wolf.
“Sonnenheim” launches with the opening song “Black Moth.”
“Black Moth” begins with sounds of the night paired with a deep steady resonant drone.
A disembodied female voice lends a haunting quality to the track as she sings a vintage song
in the back ground without instrumental accompaniment.
The lyrics contribute to the eerie atmosphere as she sings “When your smiling,
when your smiling the whole world smiles with you…when your laughing,
when your laughing the sun comes shining through…”
This uncomfortable introduction last for a little over a minute
before the eruption of fully automated gun fire echoes in the distance.
A burst of rumbling brass instrumentation heralds in deep shamanistic drumming
and ritualistic percussion that includes the steady shaking of reindeer bells.
The song is enveloped in thick drumming, ritualistic percussion,
and gentle chime like keyboards that float across the heavy atmosphere.
Kim sings gently from within the music.
His words weave impressions of brotherhood and valor amongst warrior kin.
This is Of the Wand and the Moon at the height of their craft.
This is modern day skald craft peeling away the ages to give voice to the timeless spirit we share.
Track seven titled “Hollow Upon Hollow” echoes the pain in every modern heathens heart
when we gaze into the ruins of the past and see the faded glory of our faith.
“Hollow Upon Hollow” is a poetic reflection upon what has been lost to time
and conquest and a pondering of what can be reclaimed.
The song begins with the signature acoustic guitar and wistful keyboards that have become a trademark
of Of the Wand and the Moon.
The keyboards waver and swirl around the steady guitar as Kim sings chant like passages
that reflect upon the loss of heathen faith amidst our people.
Kim sings “Once sword now rust, once faith now dust, hollow upon hollow, once a word now deceit,
once flowers now weeds, hollow upon hollow.”
The lyrics reflect the knowledge that has been discarded and the values which have faded from our grasp with time. Plants once sacred and known to heal have become weeds to be eradicated.
Our grip no longer knows the grace of the sword as our battles are fought by youth driven by political aims.
And faith in our gods has been usurped by the foreign cult from the east.
“Here comes the bloodwind…Did we forget our past, shall we regain the path, hollow upon hollow…”
Kim’s words embody personal reflection that echoes in many of our hearts as we seek to reclaim for ourselves
and our kin that which was so thoughtlessly discarded by our societies.
“I Shall Feast” is the eleventh song on Sonnenheim
and it gives voice to the spirit of retaliation every warrior must become familiar with.
Staying true to his heathen values Kim Larsen gives voice to the spirit of the warrior
as he delivers a song rife with illusions to shape shifting and the mysteries of the wolf.
“I Shall Feast” begins with a brief introduction of plucked or stroked strings.
The strings fade quickly to the sound of hypnotic bass guitar
and organ like keyboard playing that whines and swirls in a repetitive trance inducing cycle of sound.
This pulsating tapestry of sound is imbedded with various sounds that emerge and fade.
The music imbues the listener with a sense of intensity and frenetic activity.
Images of being encircled in the warm glow of fire light while outside the ring of visibility wild animals scratch,
snort, and growl.
The listener remains transfixed upon the cyclic swirl of music
while the random sounds tear at the edge of your attention like restless spirits that have been invoked.
The lyrics speak in whispers of a blood ritual and a curse upon ones enemies.
The wolf is invoked in all of its glory and fierceness. May the fangs find their mark.
Kim Larsen has produced another dark celestial album that has captured the most fragile
and elusive experiences of our kin.
Kim has captured the sacred with his words and music yet he never grasps hard enough to shatter
or smother that which he captures.
Like capturing the delicate flight of the moth or the first rays of dawn
Kim has taken that which often eludes speech and has gracefully wrapped it in song.
Those who seek their path under the limbs of oaks and beneath the silver rays of the moon
will be touched by this music.
“Sonnenheim” stirs the embers that have resisted the frost.
Kim does nothing more than share his own experiences and insights
but in doing so he also gives voice to a vision and understanding of life
and humanity that has almost faded from our lives.
Hearing another lone heathen speak of kinship, honor, valor,
the magick of summer solstice and debts repaid in blood and the bite of the wolf
has renewed my faith that our ways have not been lost.
Indeed they are eternal and await seekers such as Kim Larsen
and Of the wand and the Moon to give them a voice once more.
Needless to say “Sonnenheim” comes highly recommended by Heathen Harvest
and I encourage you all to experience the beauty and grandeur invoked by Of the Wand and the Moon.