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Vàli - "Skoglandskap" (CD)

Vàli - "Skoglandskap" CD cover image

"Skoglandskap" track listing:

1. Nordavindens Klagesang (2:58)
2. I Skumringstimen (3:30)
3. Gjemt Under Grener (2:31)
4. Langt I Det Fjerne (3:22)
5. Mellom Grantraer (2:07)
6. Himmelens Groenne Arr (3:30)
7. Et Teppe Av Mose (2:59)
8. Sevjedraaper (1:23)
9. Dystre Naturbilder (3:45)
10. Flytende Vann (1:02)
11. Stein Og Bark (3:07)
12. Lokkende Lyder (3:26)
13. Skyggespill (2:20)
14. Roede Blader (3:36)
15. Morgenry (4:08)

Reviewed by on September 20, 2013

"'Skoglandskap' is good for certain situations, but it isn’t something that a majority of music listeners will turn to on a daily basis."

Metal is great, but sometimes a person needs to relax. For some, that may come from another helping of metal, and that’s fine. However, what is being discussed here is a more calming presence, one driven by acoustic guitars, wistful strings, and delicate pianos. Think about an album you could put on in the background; in other words, mood music. Vàli is looking to fill that niche with second album “Skoglandskap.” With no percussion or vocals, this is mostly revolved around the three elements listed above, plus a flute from time to time. It captures the essence of a worldly, naturalistic ambience, though the excitement levels are at an all-time low.

The 15 songs on “Skoglandskap” are all similar in style, going for a tranquil mood built up with simplistic melodies. There isn’t much complicated about Vàli’s songwriting, though that makes it better as a soundtrack to relax to. The songs are of a decent length, staying within two to three minutes on average. That’s for the best, as there isn’t enough keeping the music compelling enough to go for much longer than that.

There are individual highlights, like the light piano-only “Flytende Vann” and the upbeat jingle of closer “Morgenry.” Vàli gets a ton out of the instruments used, and it’s an album better suited for a chilly fall afternoon or watching as a dusting of snow covers a dense forest. It’s not party music, that’s for sure, and the album reveals all it has got 10 minutes in. That means there’s still another 35 minutes to get through, and by then, the listeners may just have tuned out and left it playing as they go about their daily routine.

“Skoglandskap” is good for certain situations, but it isn’t something that a majority of music listeners will turn to on a daily basis. There isn’t much going on with the music, and it starts and finishes in almost the same manner. Dynamics are a weak point, and the songs begin to blend only a few tracks into the album. “Skoglandskap” doesn’t have much substance besides its role as background music.

Highs: Music to relax to, sets a mood well, interesting melodies utilized

Lows: Lacks much in the way of dynaimcs, album starts and finishes at the same low level of excitement, not much to hear by the time the album gets to the halfway point

Bottom line: Instrumental music with a low-key approach that is good as background music, but not much else.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)