Occasionally, something you can listen to something so incredible, something so amazing and breathtaking that you can’t quite find the words to adequately describe exactly how it makes you feel. I feel this way about Urfyr’s Der Welten Neun. Something so symphonic, operatic, and breathtaking cannot effectively be put into words. Not since Richard Wagner has a piece of music about Germanic mythology been so amazing.
There is a cinematic quality to the music, if you close your eyes you can feel the lights in the theatre dim and the opening credits begin. You can feel yourself get carried away by the music to a place, beyond the mists of the Black Forest, along the Rhine, where the gods are meeting. You are in a place now that exists outside space and time. This music, the utter brilliance of it, transports your mind to a place it could never have seen fully without Der Welten Neun. I feel lucky to have heard such an amazing piece.
Each song takes place in one of the nine worlds of Norse and Germanic cosmology, from Asgard to Muspelheim and Midgard. There is a subtle, but undeniable “Planets” vibe to the music, each piece is written to uniquely call upon the worlds. Asgard was regal and flowing, Muspelheim was sinister and bombastic, Midgard was hopeful and melancholic. Jötunheim is crushing and wild, Helheim is terrifying and atmospheric.
Urfyr manages, too, to defy genres. I can’t quite find a place to fit it. That’s brilliant. Dark ambient neo-folk, neo-classical, cinematic metal, progressive, avant garde, synth. It’s all here, each piece contains so much that it has taken almost a dozen listens to begin to find words describe it. The level of production, the attention to details, the crisp, sweeping sound, everything shows how much the musicians care about the art that they are creating. I don’t use this word lightly, but I would call this a masterpiece. This is a work that I believe anyone can enjoy, fans of movie soundtracks, ambient fans, metalheads. This is something we can all come together and listen to. If I were directing a film, I would have Urfyr compose the music, no matter what the film was about. They such a level of competence and variety with the music, the sounds, that I believe they could write about anything and I would be entertained.
This was a gem I was very lucky to have found. I highly recommend this album, and anything by Urfyr really. These are artists that have found exactly what they want to do and know exactly how they want to do it. Utterly brilliant. There are parts of the music that directly harken back to composers like Wagner and Edvard Grieg but they are followed by jazzy influences that connect the worlds in a wild, Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole crazy way. Some movements seem entirely baroque while the next movement seems to be drone and dark ambient. There is no way such a score should be able to work, it seems like it would be too much chaos, but remember the journey we are going on through this album, we are visiting each of the nine words, all surreally and distinctively unique, each world holds its own influence over the music and the atmosphere, each world is a new and different kaleidoscope of colors and images, sounds and music. Much of the instrumentation is entirely unique as well, there seems to be a plethora of unusual instruments that play alongside the traditional ones and neither of them miss a beat. I highly, highly recommend this album.