Galaverna – Dodsdans (2019) (New Full Album)

Galaverna – Dodsdans (New Full Album) Galaverna is like a lost Scandinavian folk psych gem. They don’t make music like this anymore. Except they do! Galaverna will spirit you away with strings, flute, percussion, and evocative vocals that weave enthralling tapestries of dreamy darkness. A beautiful vision beautifully realized. Mystic, mysterious, medieval, mesmerizing, mind-melting acoustic 70s prog folk. Galaverna hails from Italy and Dodsdans is their debut album, released in September, 2019.

Galaverna’s Dodsdans is the real deal. This music has lots of names like doom folk or acid folk, but really, the band makes acoustic sounds that resonate like the dark melodic wind as it brushes the branches of oak trees in a very old forest. It’s spooky autumnal Wickerman stuff. The first two tunes work together. “Dods” begins with an acoustic guitar and shadowy vocal. A violin haunts the melody. Bass and drum drop in a beat; then the second song, “…Dans” repeats the acoustic guitar, but a flute flits the melody until the vocals re-emerge (with violin in tow) to capture a sacred moment of chanted dark forest beauty.

Cerberus makes his three-headed appearance in his namesake song. Again, the tune is percussion driven, while vocals sway like ghosts, as a flute dances a bit. Acoustic guitars spar with the violin as the vocals, once again, hover with wooded cathedral respect. Oh—there’s a mellow jolt of electric guitar. The record continues on its oak forest acoustic way. “Smell of Ember” touches tangible wood—but just barely. And a violin, flute, and another electric guitar solo cut through the November mist of the tune, which, once again, is reborn with a wonderful strummed melody worthy of the very best of British folk.

Oh my! “Mother’s Leaving” begins with a Steeleye Span Medieval choral. But then it becomes complex prog folk with a pretty great Medieval riff. A lovely acoustic interlude worthy of (the great) Amazing Blondel follows, which in turn yields to a full-throated flute, violin, and electric guitar mid-section that quick-steps into an up-beat melodic drama, which quells for a moment, only to gain percussion pulse with a violin and flute melodic drive that slowly walks into the sunset of the song. The final song, “Uppvaknande,” stretches to almost nine minutes. Its title is the Swedish word for Awakening, and for the first six minutes or so, the violin driven instrumental section does recall the great sound of Sweden’s own Kebnekaise. There’s a deep pause, and then the final vocal/guitar/piano/song drifts off with that quiet autumnal wind.

This is music that touches old spirits. They are ancient spirits that sing their songs with acoustic vibrations and voices. They chant. And they congregate in the midst of darkly wooded cathedrals to rekindle the bonfires of old songs and new songs that brush the lovely branches of oak trees in a very old and very melodic musical forest.

Review by Bill Golembeski

1. Dods…
2. …Dans
3. Cerberus
4. Sweet Annika
5. Smell of Ember
6. Burning Ashes
7. Mother’s Leaving
8. Uppvaknande

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