Norway's pagan folk pioneers Gåte release a haunting new track, Svik

Gåte promo pic 2021
(Image credit: Sebastian Ludvigsen)

Formed in 1999, Trøndelag, Norway’s Gåte, along with Swedish/Finnish act Hedningarna, can lay claim to laying the groundwork for the now-burgeoning pagan folk scene headed by the likes of Wardruna and Heilung. Although Gåte were far from purists in their early days, their 2002 debut, Jygri, mixing in electronic and pop elements, subsequent albums have seen them moving deeper into their folk roots, cemented by a rapturously received performance at Borre’s Midgardsblot festival in 2019, amongst ancient Viking dynasty burial grounds.

Last May’s Til Nord EP saw them fully embrace their pagan heritage, featuring four, stripped down, haunting yet soul-stirring versions of songs that would appear on their forthcoming Nord album, due out on December 3 via Indie Recordings.

The band are about to release another precursor to Nord with the release of a single and video for the track, Svik (‘Betrayal’) on November 10, but have given Louder has an exclusive premiere. If some of the reference points may be familiar to anyone who feels an atavistic twinge whenever they see a pair of antlers, Gåte’s 22-year history and genuine ability to draw you into a fully inhabited, otherworldly yet intimate realm are the building blocks for a unique vision beholden to no-one but themselves. From Gunnhild Sundli’s arctic-clear vocals turning into fierce, feral snarls through the ritualistic wood-clack rhythms to the unpredictable, emotionally contoured dynamics that carry traces of fellow Norwegians Madder Mortem and rivulets of hardanger fiddle, Svik is an enthralling experience that transports you far beyond the external boundaries of its five-minute run time.

The track is the story of a man who, tormented by his past, becomes his own worst enemy, of how the intoxicating path of revenge often leads to the devastating ruins of remorse, and of how our anxieties and traumas hunt us, while simultaneously representing an integral part, a building block of who we are. The music video is directed by Gunnhild Sundli herself. As she states: "With having the opportunity to direct this video, I was able to give life to visions and feelings I have in my mind while singing Svik.”

Nord is released on December 3 via Indie Recordings. Pre-order the album via the Indie Recordings webstore

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.