Weh - Ingenmannsland - (5/10)
Published on November 19, 2015
The solo-venture of one Erik Evju, the Norwegian project Weh served as my introduction to the neofolk genre. With five EP’s released between 2002 and 2006, and appearing with an excellent cover of Windir’s “Likbør” on the Valfar, Ein Windir-compilation, Weh’s stripped down acoustic guitars and melancholic lyrics struck a chord. After the release of the 2006 EP North, however, there was a long silence from the Weh camp, with the 2010 compilation Origins standing as his only release in a period of six years. In 2012 the silence was broken with the debut full length album En Natt Kom Død, with Folkloren following only a year later. Both of these albums slipped me by, so I jumped at the chance when I saw the announcement of Ingenmannsland, a war-themed album with a title meaning “No Man’s Land”.
Mainly still comprised of one man and his guitar, there hasn’t been much in the way of musical progression for Weh during the nine years between North and Ingenmannsland. Situated somewhere between dark folk project Musk Ox and the nocturnal ruminations on Ulver’s Kveldssanger, Weh’s greatest strength are Erik’s soulful vocals. The songs on Ingemannsland are simple in structure, and never drift far from the stripped down melancholic folk approach. There are modest piano arrangements on songs such as “The Oath”, and basic dungeon synths on “Der Lå Et Hav Av Ild”, but these elements add little to the already despondent atmosphere. The monotony is only broken at the very end, with “The Great War” closing on an almost upbeat guitar passage. This means ending on a high note, but Ingenmannsland as a whole is in dire need of more such diversions from the monochromatic coldness and darkness.
For fans of minimalistic dark folk and neofolk, Ingenmannsland is a solid albeit somewhat unremarkable effort. If you like Weh’s previous work, this will undoubtedly scratch that melancholy heathen itch, but some variation on the central themes would have been welcome. As it stands, the album is suitably glum and moody, but suffers from being repetitive and unfortunately somewhat boring.
I couldn’t find any samples from Ingenmannsland, so here’s a nice song from the North EP