Galaverna - Dodsdans - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Galaverna - Dodsdans

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-09-01
Galaverna - Dodsdans
Galaverna - Dodsdans

Forget about Jethro Tull’s Songs from the Wood. Galaverna’s Dodsdans is the real deal. This music has lots of names like doom folk or acid folk, but really, the band makes (for the most part) acoustic sounds that resonate like the dark melodic wind as it brushes the branches of oak trees in a very old forest. It’s spooky autumnal Wickerman stuff.

There’s nothing new age or airy-fairy here. Perhaps, a comparison can be made to the brilliant Comus’ First Utterance, without the really dark lyrics or the occasional hysterics. Now, to get weird folk music specific, the list of other bands that blow similar eerie breezes includes (from the 70’s) Forest, Jan Dukes de Grey, Mellow Candle, Dransfield, and Broselmachine, or the more modern Espers, Fern Knight, and Circulus.

The first two tunes work together. “Dods” begins with an acoustic guitar and shadowy vocal. A violin haunts the melody. Bass and drum drop in a beat; then the second song, “…dans” repeats the acoustic guitar, but a flute flits the melody until the vocals re-emerge (with violin in tow) to capture a sacred moment of chanted dark forest beauty.

Of course, (our dear friend) Cerberus makes his three-headed appearance in his namesake song. Again, the tune is percussion driven, while vocals sway like ghosts, as a flute dances a bit. Acoustic guitars spar with the violin as the vocals, once again, hover with wooded cathedral respect. Oh—there’s a mellow jolt of electric guitar.

More acoustic guitar follows. “Sweet Annika” is softly beautiful. And, yes, it does echo the underground understatement of Tull’s “Sossity; You’re a Woman,” with a melody that somehow survives smoke and time.

The record continues on its oak forest acoustic way. “Smell of Ember” touches tangible wood—but just barely. And a violin, flute, and another electric guitar solo cut through the November mist of the tune, which, once again, is reborn with a wonderful strummed melody worthy of the very best of British folk. And that’s an odd thing. This is an Italian band. Yet, it does set its compass toward England’s mystical Cornwall peninsula, what with Tintagel and all of that.

Now, for an odd thought: Valerio Willy Goattin’s vocals and the general arrangement of the songs (sort of) mirror the sound of Uriah Heep’s Ken Hensley, that is, if he had made an acoustic album with a lot of songs that sounded like “Lady in Black.” But, as said, that’s just an odd thought.

“Burning Ashes” opens the valves a bit and gets pretty exuberant for a band plying its trade in the dark woods of an old oaken forest. But it’s always nice to hear the fingers quickly slide over the frets. Yes, this is very human music.

Oh my! “Mother’s Leaving” begins with a Steeleye Span Medieval choral. But then it becomes complex prog folk with a pretty great Medieval riff. A lovely acoustic interlude worthy of (the great) Amazing Blondel follows, which in turn yields to a full-throated flute, violin, and electric guitar mid-section that quick-steps into an up-beat melodic drama, which quells for a moment, only to gain percussion pulse with a violin and flute melodic drive that slowly walks into the sunset of the song.

That’s a long-winded way to say this is a wonderful piece of music.

The final song, “Uppvaknande,” stretches to almost nine minutes. Its title is the Swedish word for Awakening, and for the first six minutes or so, the violin driven instrumental section does recall the great sound of Sweden’s own Kebnekaise. There’s a deep pause, and then the final vocal/guitar/piano/song drifts off with that quiet autumnal wind.

This is music that touches old spirits. They are ancient spirits that sing their songs with acoustic vibrations and voices. They chant. And they congregate in the midst of darkly wooded cathedrals to rekindle the bonfires of old songs and new songs that brush the lovely branches of oak trees in a very old and very melodic musical forest.

Note: Not that it really matters, but this is a reissue of the 2015 release that now comes with a “dark and psychedelic card case.”

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles