Sangre De Muerdago ‎– O Camiño Das Mans Valeiras

sangredemuedrago

[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]

I’ve been listening to this album for some months now, and for some reason I found it difficult to write about during all this time. And that’s not because of the initial barrier of the Galician dialect – that despite being a romance language of Latin derivation like my mother tongue (Italian), is not immediately comprehensible for me when spoken or sung, as apart from some words, it sounds quite far from my culture, probably more than it actually is (as I noticed while reading it). The fact is that this is probably the best neofolk album that came out this year, so anytime I listened to it, I couldn’t but do it from the perspective of a neofolk music fan, and was therefore unable to give an impartial judgment on it. The beauty of what I was listening to was something so clear in my mind that it was impossible for me to formulate rational thoughts about it. But then I realized that the real beauty of this latest album by Pablo C. Ursusson goes beyond its affiliation to the neofolk scene: it has not the harshness of most bands of this genre and it surely doesn’t need help from totalitarian imagery to be effective. This is something much more pure and straight to the point: Sangre De Muerdago’s music is not derivative, it roots directly in the traditions that it evokes, without filters, as if it comes from an ancient age. There are not many bands with this aura of ancestrality, probably only Forseti (with which Sangre de Muerdago has in common the choice of using a totally acoustic instrumentation, in this case even some curious instruments as nickelharpa, hurdy gurdy and hammered dulcimer) or the Scandinavian folk works of bands like Ulver and Skyforger. But while we are familiar with the Nordic and Germanic traditions, because many of our favorite bands refer to this matter and aesthetics in their music, we know quite few about the Iberian heritage and even less about the Galician one in particular. For this reason it’s even more surprising how this record is able to speak so universally and sweetly, pleasantly resounding to a wide range of listeners, even outside the neofolk niche. The lyrics are full of soul and the highly evocative Galician dialect fits perfectly with the themes of the album, that are mosly about nature, with many esoteric references (“Xordas”, “Mensaxeiros do Pasado“, “O Conxuro“) intended as the knowledge and mastery of natural elements. There’s always a positive attitude to this knowledge, so even when referring to witchcraft or magic, the atmosphere never gets dark and gloomy as it might happen with most neofolk bands, and “O Camiño Das Mans Valeiras” is pleasant, fulfilling like walking through a forest, admiring all of its autumnal colors, discovering all of its secrets.

Sangre De Muerdago ‎– O Camiño Das Mans Valeiras
Sick Man Getting Sick Records, SIM-017; Música Máxica, MM06; Neuropa Records, NRP53
CD/LP/Digital 2015

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