Forlatt by Vàli (2013)

Forlatt (~Abandoned) was published in 2013 by a Norwegian artist who calls himself Vàli, as Odin’s son, and about who I haven’t been able to find much information, so I can tell you little about him. As for the music he presents to us in this album, Forlatt is a wonderful work of Nordic folk who masterfully captures the sensitivity of metal music to create melancholic and yet simple compositions, using only acoustic guitar and cello in most of them, and that evoke nature, winter, pain and death. It’s almost like a metal album that has been translated into the language of folk, even while listening to it I thought it’d be a great idea to make metal covers of many of the songs on the album.

The first track, När vinden gråter (~When wind cries), which combines acoustic guitar with cello and some piano notes, is an excellent opening, with a sad melody that stands out on the repetition of the initial sequence of guitar and piano to leave room to silence and then a section that is simply beautiful and where the influence of metal is very clear. Dyne Inne I Skogen (~Deep inside the Forest), the next song, sounds much deeper and folk, with some sequences reminiscent of medieval music. The detail of the flute gives a primitive and natural touch in addition, what goes in consonance with the song’s motif according to the title. The next highlight and one of the songs that caught my attention first is Et Ensomt Minne (~A lonely memory), much darker than its predecessors. In this case, melody is built mainly by guitar, while the cello plays the accompaniment, unlike in the first song, where the cello had more prominence.

Nordlysets Dans (~Northern Lights Dance) leaves aside the sadness and makes us return to a more classical folk. It consists of three different sequences separated by periods of silence as a transition, detail this last one that I didn’t like much as I found it kind of confusing, and that is used as a resource in several songs as well as in this one. Lengsel (~Longing) is the only song that includes human voice as an accompaniment and has a simple and quiet melody that expresses wonderfully the … Well, the longing, just as it promises. After it comes the last hihglight of the album, Sorg (~Pain). The guitar chords shed grief over a base that repeats in the background and later the cello is incorporated during the most emotional part of the song. Skumringens Omfavn (~Twilight Embrace) is a folk song of transition with very medieval touches that takes us directly to Mer Ute I Mørket (~More out in the Dark), a silent and nocturnal song that reels its notes and chords without even noticing it. Tåke (~Fog) begins with an easy and very classic melody to later incorporate some mysterious touches, but otherwise it is one of the liveliest songs on the album. Dødens Evige Kall (~The Eternal Cold of Death) closes the album rescuing the piano of the first song for the occasion. It is another quiet track and it is simple in terms of the guitar, but the cello can show off with a decadent melody that gets lost with the last and agonizing piano notes in the silence of the winter forest.

Forlatt is a work of profound and stunning beauty, great to spend the last days that remain of the inspiring winter. The melodies are perfect, music knows how to take advantage of silence, a resource that is rarely taken into account, and remains true to the concepts it wishes to express. Totally recommended.



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