Kim Larsen has proven himself a master musician and songwriter within the Neofolk music arena with previous Of the Wand and the Moon releases that have left listeners swooning and hungry for more. Many of us are anxiously awaiting the next full-length album which is currently being recorded by Kim and his allies. While we are waiting Of the Wand and the Moon has released a new 7” limited edition vinyl titled “Hail Hail Hail.” This new release comes on white vinyl and is packaged with impressive artwork. The album cover features a photograph a pig’s head mounted on a wooden stake that appears to be in the shape of an inverted Algiz rune and the stake and head are positioned in an open filed. Standing behind the mounted head is a vine covered sun wheel, which is also mounted upon a much higher pole. This imagery is without doubt laden with Teutonic and Heathen spiritual themes, which are quite dark and foreboding. The speared pigs head is very reminiscent of the Nidstang which is a Teutonic tradition that involved mounting a decapitated horses head or horse skull upon a pole driven into the Earth. The horses head would then be magically charged with runes and positioned to face in the direction of ones enemies. The spell if successful would drive the earth spirits from the enemies land and anger these spirits in turn. It was these angered spirits that would carry out the cursers will. Given that these various visual elements are paired with two song one title “Hail Hail Hail” ad the other a rendition of the classic Current 93 song “Benediction / Malediction” originally sung by Ian Read of Fire + Ice the listener can come to their own conclusions.
In addition to being packaged with powerful and symbolic artwork, Kim Larsen has also recruited members of Forseti and Sonne Hagal for this very special release. With such impressive packaging and a stellar line up of established neofolk musicians “Hail Hail Hail” produces high musical expectations. If “Hail Hail Hail” is any sign of what is coming in the near future on the full-length album “Sonnenheim” then we will all be celebrating the new album! “Hail Hail Hail” begins with the title song on Side A. “Hail Hail Hail” opens with the sound of a struck gong and minimal nostalgic neoclassical music. After a few seconds, the song erupts with lively tribal drumming that sets the rhythm and the tone of the song. Neoclassical elements that sound synthetically produced are piped in over the vigorous drumming along with the celestial sound of chimes. Kim recites a poetic song over the music as his voice is layered and mixed into the music. The music and voice merge into a very effective and impressive ritualistic environment that invokes earlier Of the Wand and the Moon songs while at the same time expanding the sound of the band well beyond anything fans have heard before. The most notable change is the lack of acoustic guitar and the spirited drumming. The line “Hail Hail Hail these runes will prevail Hail Hail Hail if nothing else” is repeated throughout the song and this striking statement sums up the energy and spiritual force of the song.
“Benediction / Malediction” is of course a rendition of the classic Current 93 song originally sung by one of the forefathers of the neofolk music genre Ian Read. “Benediction / Malediction” has always been one of favorite Current 93 song as there is literally a curse contained within a song. The lyrics speak of cursing those who would destroy the culture, land and spiritual heritage of the narrator’s people. Kim Larsen has reworked the music but has retained the lyrics as they were originally sung almost twenty years ago. The song begins with minimal growling sounds and electronic manipulations that sound like malicious animals roaming in the dark of night. The mood of the music is undoubtedly sinister. The narration is masterfully handled with various layers of narration paired together in a coherent stream. Several voices sing while other voices whisper the same lyrics from beneath the prominent voices. The song drips with mysticism and is as effective as the original.
“Hail Hail Hail” is definitely a worthwhile purchase. If you have limited funds and you tend to wait around for those vinyl releases that are must haves then dig deep into your pockets and be sure to get one of these limited edition copies. “Hail Hail Hail” will certainly become highly collectable and should you wait to secure a copy of this excellent album you are going to have to pay astronomical prices as it is sure to create a tremendous amount of demand amidst neofolk fans. If you find pleasure in Teutonic / Heathen inspired music and you seek music that delves deeply into spiritual domains with maturity and confidence then get yourself a copy of “Hail Hail Hail.”