As the darkest night comes to this side of the earth, the first URD tracks come to light. It has been a long nearly two years since URD was first conceptualized and tentatively announced. It began with environmental recordings from sacred and forlorn natural places to which I was going to set to ancient instruments in a free form and ambient fashion. It slowly took on another life and merged atmospheric/ambient and black metal. The folk instruments have remained. The end result will be primarily a ritual performance based project rooted in thick, grinding metal, invocative vocals and the augmentation of textures of the ancient world.
The current plan is to release demo tracks as close to the seasonal shifts as possible. URD, despite any mythological expressions or theatrical presentation, is entirely rooted in natural cycles.
These are home recorded and produced pieces meant to give a listener insight into “where we are” as a project. They are not remotely meant to represent professional grade recordings with full production. From the preview feedback I’ve received however, we appear to be on to something. They for now will live on bandcamp and will be free to download for one week. After that they will be available for streaming only. An equally raw video was created by John to get the piece out on youtube.
The first tracks capture the essence of URD – both the atmospheric, and heavy aspects. While the passages at this stage seem quite complete, they are just the very first steps on what will likely be a long and twisted journey.
As of now URD is:
John Harford - Direction, Vocals, Lur, Lyre, Tagalharpa, Environmetal Recordings, Production
Brett McCoy – Guitars, Bass, Drums (Programmed), Production
Diana Risel – Nyckelharpa
Our goal is to have two demo level tracks completed by Yule. From there we will see if we can create some ritual-performances for everyone to experience.
Until then, enjoy the death of the year. And the harvest. That which is not needed is drained away with the fading sunlight. In the dark are glimmers of a coming reawakening…
Under the eclipsed snow moon, this project long under development has come to life. In less than a week I laid down five scratch tracks. Structural sketches for myself and collaborating musicians to follow and develop into final pieces.
URD references the well of knowledge. The waters of fate. And the paths required to get there. Positioning this against the territories I’ve been in for the last decade, it goes into more visceral territories.
It is rooted in metal. Specifically Black Metal in ethos and tone. Purists can argue, but my intent is not to conform to a genre. It is to channel the darkness and aggression that augments the themes of the Utangard, and the underworld journey associated with the paths to knowledge. There are the folk elements of ancient instrumentation and structure.
While some of what I have done with Ashagal and my neo-medieval expressions has an historic and mythical sort of darkness, that music is inherently festive. It has an ecstatic energy of wild places and moonlit forests. That band is about an ancestral and mythological tapestry.
Urd is not about Norse mythology. It is not about golden haired gods and mead halls. You don't gain true knowledge and dominion by remaining servile and comfortable. It is about The Giants. It is about speaking with Dragons and the restless dead. It is not about exaltation. It is less about the natural divine (though that theme is inherent in any tribal mystic practice) and more about personal paths through darkness, to power. It is about going far out to the edges, beyond the safety of daylight, and ascending. That is the real lesson secreted in the ancient histories.