|CD REVIEW Weh|
Weh are a mainly acoustic Folk project by Erik Evju, who wanted to create a mixture of darkened feelings and natural emotions. Under the moniker Weh, Erik recorded and released a first demo / EP in 2002, called The Death, and it received very positive reactions in Norway as well as in the rest of the world. 2003 saw the release of a second demo, called All The Sinners Are Sleeping Now, followed in 2004 by demo # 3, The Coffee’s Cold In The Morning, The Beer’s Warm At Night. In between, Erik was asked by Windir’s Hváll (now in Vreid), to cover a Windir-song. Windir-frontman Valfar tragically died earlier that year, and the aim was to release some kind of tribute-album, which would be the last one through Windir as a band. Erik E, as Weh, contributed with the track Likbør, taken from the Windir-album Sóknardalr. Two more Weh-demos were recorded, Hoof & Horn (2005) and North (2006), but then things went silent.
Until 2009. Erik E and Soulseller got in touch and this resulted in the idea to release all this material on CD with the title :origins:. Erik started recording five new songs (these ones in fact were originally titled as :origins:) in July 2010 to include them on the compilation; and finally a rather new song, “The Seaward Song”, which was recorded in 2009 to appear on a Brazilian online compilation, was chosen to appear on the double-compilation as well. So, :origins: compiles all official Weh-material ever recorded.
En Natt Kom Doed is the official debut studio full length for Weh, recorded at the end of 2011, and it goes on in the vein of all former stuff, yet with a continuously modified progression in song writing and instrumentation (see next paragraph). And lyrically, the themes deal with darker corners of the mind, which is a difference with the past as well + some parts sung again in English as well this time, yet with a focus on Norwegian texts…
Musically En Natt Kom Doed, which has duration of just over half an hour, is mostly comparable to the newly written songs for the :origins:-overview. The earliest efforts were not boring yet the lack of variation did bother me more than once; the ‘new’ hymns were more diverse in several aspects, and that’s a logical continuation this time. I’m referring to two elements: the songs differ more from each other than before, and each single song an sich is richer this time – the latter means: less repetitive and primitive at the one hand (yet still with a certain monotonous background), and the introduction of instruments not used before (like keyboard passages or mouth harp). Also the increased vocal variety is a positive evolution, I think. Harmonious and melodic vocals, yet back ground chants / choirs, whispers and spoken words too; this time Weh seems to get miles away from boredom. The atmosphere is dark-edged, yet very epic as well. ‘epic’ does not mean this material suddenly sounds like a Pagan / Viking project from Scandinavia (even though one cannot deny certain links from time to time). It means that En Natt Kom Doed approaches a victorious style rather than a melancholic one. Most songs are very calm, quiet and integer – just some voices and acoustic guitars – but there’s more up-tempo material, and even some ‘happier’ moments.
There are more than a handful of bands that come to mind. I think about the Auerbach-label (with acts like Orplid, Subaudition, :of the wand & the moon: or Neun Welten on their roster), as well as projects like legendary Fire & Ice, Sol Invictus, Der Blutharsch, Sonne Hagal, Current 93 and Tenhi (in most of these examples, and the following ones as well, I am referring to their (Neo-) Folk efforts, even though some of these acts are also active within other musical spectra). Other references, for those who aren’t trusted with this scene that intensively (I’m not ‘a specialist’ either, I have to admit, even though I do follow this specific scene / genre for a long time), are: Leonard Cohen (!), Forseti, Blood Axis, Darkwood or Lux Interna. With some open-minded fantasy, I would also refer to Bathory’s Blood On Ice or an act like Munarheim, or Ulver’s Kveldsfanger …and several others too, of course…