Brothers Daniel and Mikeal Tjernberg have released one of the more unusual and cinematic storytelling records of 2018 with their four-track ensemble release “Flight of the Raven”. The release dives into Norse mythology and is a mix of Scandinavian sensibilities, contemporary classical music and a nice nod to romantic rock too. Its meshing of genres is interesting, if not always entirely successful.
“The Fires of Musphelheim” opens with militant drums and thick brass arrangements that allow a spoken passage of poetic mythological moments to unravel. The orchestrations are synth versions but they are thick and ballsy so they have real power behind them. The second half of the track ends the vocal passage and moves onto an interplay between strings and electric guitar. It’s not quite a call and response but it fits nicely. “Thundergod” has a jazz-rock verse with lots of electric piano and clever bass lines rolling at you quickly. There’s some great technical mastery here but the vocals are almost comical. It’s what I’d call panto-Eurovision-rock rocks where shouting the word thunder in a light death metal whisper doesn’t quite hit the mark the music is going for at all. The rock itself wants to veer to a jaunty pirate sea shanty too with its rolling percussion, choir synth pads and happy brass stabs. Ultimately, I’ve no idea what I was meant to feel. In the same vein “Flight of the Raven” is a seven-minute piano piece that feels purposely out of tune in a hip jazz way. It’s the kind of music that would work as a comedy character theme in a Lucas Art’s point n click adventure game but it didn’t grab me until the end. Closing track “Ginninpagap” switches things for a more atmospheric piano and acoustic guitar piece but the MIDI-like made for TV sounds of the synths made the track feel cheaper than it should do.
“Flight of the Raven” is odd and experimental in the jazz/folk space and I think it will be a highly subjective release to many people who like those genres. Personally, for me, each track had moments that gelled but more moments that didn’t and Thundergod falls into the comedy value space which I’m sure is not what the desired aim was. Take a peek if any of this sounded interesting to you – but your mileage will vary… a lot.
Recommended track: Thundergod