Enslaved and Wardruna visionaries unveil their majestic new Hugsjá album

Hugsjá promo pic, 2018 by Thor Brødreskift
(Image credit: Thor Br\u00f8dreskift)

Hugsjá, the follow-up to Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik’s widely acclaimed Skuggsjá project is about to get a full album release on April 20 via By Norse Music, as the suite gets its first airing outside Norway during Tilburg’s Roadburn festival.

Originally commissioned by the Bergen International Festival last year, Hugsjá – meaning ‘to see with, or within, the mind’ – like its predecessor, has expanded on the original brief to become a multi-layered yet open-ended work in its own right. A journey along the island-dotted coast of their native Bergen that draws a continuity from the beliefs and traditions of its earliest settlers into the present day, this is a more contemplative, less turbulent work than Skuggsjá, but one whose panoramic, free-roaming perspective becomes a visionary rite of passage.

We are honoured to offer the first glimpse of Huggsjá in the form of its lead, self-titled track, a pagan folk pilgrimage that journeys between solemn, enlightened perseverance and wonder-infused discovery - laying the album’s groundwork by mapping out a state of spellbound transition.

“Where our previous joint endeavour Skuggsjá had a very specific idea and format when it was commissioned,” says Einar, “I feel we had much more room on Hugsjá, to freely explore as well as to apply our experience into the creative process and planning. It has truly been an enriching process where we have been working alongside great musicians, language experts, archeologists and local experts; seeking to unfold and shed light on relevant, yet near forgotten deities and myths as well as local history and traditions.”

“We started out by fusing our respective bands into a mammoth of a piece; and marching said mammoth on and off stage afterwards was not the easiest of tasks either,” add Ivar. “So when we started working on round two, we moved the focus from what we were doing in our ‘day-bands’, and what we could do together as musical and thinking ‘individuals’. In that process I feel we have invented a whole new genre and a whole new approach to historically anchored art. The recording process was a lot of fun also; these songs really works on all scales; acoustically outdoors by the sea, mic´d up and amplified in a giant concert hall – and last but not least; as an album…”

Cast off from all known co-ordinates and give yourself to roaming majesty of Hugsjá below!

Check out Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik’s Facebook page here

Pre-order a physical copy of Hugsjá in Europe here, and in the US here

And pre-order a digital copy here!

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.