Let’s get something out of the way first – Sleipnir is an eight-legged horse variously featured in Norse mythology, most prominently in the Poetic/Prose Edda. Skadi, likewise featured in that most seminal of texts, is a jötunn most often associated with the bow and the hunt. If you have no idea what such references are doing on a metal album’s cover, please read this post by yours truly. Interestingly enough, The Flight of the Sleipnir have chosen unique and somewhat obscure Norse figures for their name and album title. Even more pleasing is the album itself. Skadi is a powerful exploration of the type of doom which draws its power from quiet, slow passages frequently interspersed amidst the tumultuous summits of its heavier segments. Unlike its fellow releases, however, Skadi manages to keep things fresh for the entirety of its run-time. Meet me below and let’s dive into the frozen landscape.
“Awaken” is really the best place to start and not only because it’s the opening track to the album. It is perhaps the most powerful example of the Skadi formula; it starts off with a quiet passages which, at first, seems like an afterthought, before giving way to the high pitched vocals and thunderous guitars one would expect. However, it soon becomes clear that the more mellow segments on this album are anything but an afterthought; they represent an honest and effective flip-side to the abrasive side of the coin, completing the album. With “Awaken”, these two parts also meet nearer the end of the track, haunting guitars and thundering drums melding together into one deeply incisive whole.
By the way, the drums are worth delaying on. They represent one of Sleipnir’s most unique elements, first because of their tone (especially the snare) and second because of their composition. You see, the drums on Skadi aren’t content with the backing role often assigned to them within doom. Rather, they flesh out much of the more melancholic transitions on the album (check out the nine minute mark on “Awaken” for an example) and, with their powerful snare sound, often serve as the sinews of this beast made of flesh and frost. Perhaps, at the close of this post, it also bears mentioning that these guys call Denver home; the name Dreadnought should be echoing in your thoughts really loudly now followed by the monumental sounds of Skadi (watch out for the honey layered opening to “Tenebrous Haze”; it’s a sucker punch and a half).