Skuggsjá - A Piece For Mind & Mirror review

Bandcamp music player

107 users:
Band: Skuggsjá
Album: A Piece For Mind & Mirror
Release date: March 2016

01. Intro: Ull Kjem
02. Skuggsjá
03. Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid
04. Tore Hund
05. Rop Fra Røynda - Mælt Fra Minne
06. Skuggeslåtten
07. Kvervandi
08. Vitkispá
09. Bøn Om Ending, Bøn Om Byrjing
10. Outro: Ull Gjekk
11. Skaldens Song Til Tore Hund [deluxe Digipak bonus]
12. Quantum Pasts [deluxe Digipak bonus]

Folk music and, more specifically, music played with locally traditional instruments has a long and colourful history in metal. It is probably the most tolerant subgenre when it comes to the acceptance of bands that aren't actually heavy in any way or don't use electric instruments. When we're speaking of Skuggsjá today, it's safe to say that their debut album, A Piece For Mind & Mirror, contains about half-electric and half-acoustic music, while not all the electric stuff can be considered metal, too. However, in recent years many bands showed that this can come out well, and Skuggsjá are not an exception to this.

Being some kind of supergroup with (ex-)members of legends like Enslaved, Wardruna or Gorgoroth, the Norwegians sat together to create a piece of music that's pushing the folk elements very far. Just like in their other bands, authenticity and earnestness are key attributes and contribute to the Viking vibe. Traditional instruments play a main role in all of the songs, while the exact selection dictates the atmosphere and character of each track. This in turn goes hand-in-hand with the different vocal styles used, and altogether leads to a wide range of tunes from the heavy title track all the way down to the mellow "Skuggelslaten," to name two of the best songs.

Production-wise everything is well done, although without something special but all the instruments and their specific characters have been captured with a clear and warm tone. So everything's looking very good, right? In theory, yes. In practice, however, I've experienced the problem that even after multiple listens there was hardly anything staying in my head after I put down the headphones. Not that I wouldn't enjoy A Piece For Mind & Mirror while I listen to it, but there is nothing so exceptionally good or even outstanding that stays in the head for hours after you stopped listening. What also contributes to this feeling is the fact that many melodies have been used in more than one song. This gives a good feeling of a whole, conceptionally closed album, but I think with the range of instruments, vocals and the talents of the members, there could have simply been more. Possibly it's also the big range of styles that gives you a bit of everything, but only this little bit and nothing more.

What are we left with now? The title, A Piece For Mind & Mirror already tells most of it. Bringing in some mind (and mood), this is probably the right music for you. But just like a picture in a mirror it may fade as soon as you put it down. After this solid debut album I hope to hear more of Skuggsjá in the next years, hopefully with the same setup, but maybe one or two ideas more for each direction they go in.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8


Written on 30.04.2016 by "The future is not guaranteed, all we have is today.
And Today, we have Metal." - Karl Sanders


Comments: 6   Visited by: 214 users
30.04.2016 - 17:07
I do like this album a lot and if i am to be unhappy about something than that would be digipak version made from cardboard , music itself love it - vocal parts are incredible.
As for myself there is a lot of music staying in my head but as You know every head is diffrent , or maybe it is just because i prefer death metal mainly so something diffrent and new stay in my head for longer
And I see the blade fall down upon the head of lord in heaven
And Darkness falls upon the end of history
While I drink the milk of the Black Goddess and cry over the mankind

Black Moses is my name...
30.04.2016 - 17:23
I checked out some of these guys at Roadburn last year, where they debuted for the first time, and even though I only caught about 10 minutes of them, I suspected just from that that the music they'd subsequently put out would be far more tilted towards the sound of Wardruna than that of Enslaved. I haven't yet listened to this in full, but from the one track they put out, as well as what other people have been saying, this does indeed seem to be the case. I don't particularly mind that though, Wardruna is the fucking shit and definitely one of the better neofolk bands out there if you ask me
Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves waited for rain
While the black clouds gathered far distant, over Himavant
The jungle crouched, humped in silence
Then spoke the thunder
30.04.2016 - 21:29
I liked this album a lot more than you did, but I do think that your criticisms are valid. I find Wardruna fantastic, but I have some of the same issues with them, so perhaps if they incorporated more elements of Enslaved next time around, it would make for a better album.
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
01.05.2016 - 11:45
I listened to this album a few times and I still don't know how I feel about it.

Sometimes it gets really good but I feel it's lacking something. It's still a good listen though and a promising debut but not for everyone.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.

My Instagram
01.05.2016 - 13:20
Account deleted
It is good, but nowhere near Wardruna... And some songs are quite boring, like Makta Og Vanæra, For All Tid....
07.05.2016 - 15:17
Bad English
Written by BloodTears on 01.05.2016 at 11:45

I listened to this album a few times and I still don't know how I feel about it.

Sometimes it gets really good but I feel it's lacking something. It's still a good listen though and a promising debut but not for everyone.

exactly mine words
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

Hits total: 4681 | This month: 40