Haavard - Haavard (2022)


Set to be released on Prophecy Production’s sub-label Auerbach Tonträger, today we have Håvard Jørgensen and his Neofolk release “Haavard”. Labeled by promotional materials to the closest thing to Ulver’s masterpiece “Kveldssanger", this album delivers 13 tracks of very melancholic and somber music. Yes, the music style is similar to Ulver’s second album that shocked many, but it is also on the lines of records released by outfits like Empyrium (“Weiland”) and Tenhi to name a few.

Opening with the lush “Printemps” and “Heartwood”, we quickly got chills as it has plenty of Empyrium’s purely Neofolk phase thanks to its solemn acoustic guitars and very unsettling and somber mood thanks to additional string instruments. The folky nature of the music is further appreciated in the lively “Oberon” and the transition piece “The Chase”, just before the minimalist and mysterious “Snhetta”.

For the people that are expecting something akin Håvard’s work in Dold Vorde Ensd Navn will certainly not find it here, but the overall dark and cold atmosphere of his songwriting is present in pieces like the magical “Emmanuelle” and its playful Spanish-like elements. The release does feature a nod to Ulver’s earlier days with a track titled “Kveldssang II”, which could could have been part of “Kveldssanger", and a guest appearance on vocals from none other than Garm on the track “Mot Soleglad” that gives us some Warduna/Heilung-esque vibes.

From start to end, “Haavard” is a very mellow and engaging exploratory release with plenty of ‘traditional’ Neofolk influences and a good deal of interesting additions. Obviously Håvard Jørgensen is a great musician and this release showcases his talents, but also shows a different side of his creative force, one that does not involve any Metal elements, so don’t expect otherwise. If you are a fan of Neofolk music with a darker edge, this release is right up your alley.

Band: Haavard Album: Haavard

Label: Personal Records

Release: November 11th, 2022

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Genre: Neofolk

Country: Norway

Rating: 94/100

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