CD: Ahnstern 14 [2005] Ltd x 500
LP: Ahnstern 14 [2005] Ltd x 500

The Raven‚s Song
Another Friend
The Einherjer
The Pilgrim
Bring Back the Old Gods
...but Warriors are Marching
When the Wind...
Several Ways
Armageddon Is a Sunny Day

A cloud of ravens, cawing withers in a somnolent wind that funnels the swaying melody of flutes and between the strings of gentle guitar fingerstyle before Mark A. How‚s voice rustles from the swale, poetically recounting a raven‚s narrative before an explosion of skirls from bagpipes and skinned drums that indenture the ballad with folkish caracoles as How continues his elegy. 'The Raven's Song' is a striking first track of this medieval neofolk album that explores Norse myth plaintively expressed and with a vocal lambency that is often swallowed in other Northern European acts. Sagentoeter's instrumentation is what you'd expect from a post-medieval performance, yet it is the attenuated counterpoint that is salient, Spartan to be true, but therein lays the charm; the Flamish bagpipes do not smother with wall of sound or harrow the heartbeat with fulgurant coloratura's, the percussive dynamics range from gentle finger tapping accompaniment to trembling frissons. All members of the trio share in the vocals, harmonizing the Norse stories, the tracks aleatory, especially from what a listener could insure their selves to from a neofolk band exploring ancient pagan themes, yet the vocal stylization of Mark A. How affords a vivacity, a verve that is compelling and unique.

Comprised of some of the members of Riharc Smiles, previously released on Ahnstern, Sagentoeter proffers a release that is firmly in the borough of their former act as well as those who tread such runic paths like Fire & Ice. The pagan lyricism is unambiguous and accompanying music lovingly and skillfully crafted. "Prayers to Othinn" aver that this genre has room to breathe, as long as it is in the apposite hands.

Released in both LP and CD in a limited edition of 500 copies each, with the CD presented in a wooden case, both in full colour sepia toned artwork, contorted marbled statues - macabre mannerism - among the liner notes.


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