Sonne Hagal – Sinnreger

‘Sinnreger’ was actually the first Sonne Hagal record, but released by Eis & Licht in 2000 in a limited edition of 450 copies and missed by me at the time. Since I was impressed by the later work of Sonne Hagal, the neo-folk group from Brandenburg, I was happy to obtain this piece of vinyl a few months ago through a well-known auction site (and even for a fairly reasonable price). It contains 6 songs and about 20 minutes of music, consisting of nothing but strong and varied material! ‘Sinnreger’ has an orange sleeve, with a drawing inspired by the Edda. The record comes with an insert sheet with the lyrics of two of the songs, dealing with the same material.

The start of the record can’t go wrong: after a short intro we are treated to an energetic version of the neo-folk classic ‘Sonnenwende’, originally made by the mysterious and not very productive Ernte. This song is also a live favourite at Sonne Hagal concerts. It is sung in a sensitive manner and the strings greatly add to the warm atmosphere. ‘Sonnenwende’ is followed by what is perhaps the best Sonne Hagal song I know: ‘Odin’, a powerful, rather masculine song, somewhat reminding of Dies Natalis, with heavy guitar work, marching drums and almost shouted vocals in the refrain, calling the most powerful Germanic god. The last song on side A, ‘Anna G.’, is more tranquil and atmospheric, with soft vocals, acoustic guitars and keyboard sounds, while the ravens are ‘singing’ in the background.

Side B opens with ‘Zagreb-Agram’, which is carried by a melancholic (eastern European?) violin and low electric guitar sounds. The vocals sound somewhat distorted here. ‘Herbstlied’ sounds again different, it’s a soft short song, reminding of a lullaby, a duet of male and sweet female vocals. The last song ‘Am Abend’ sounds a little more experimental, the atmospheric strings contrast with the agitated vocals and strangily manipulated electronic sounds. A short slow outro which goes on ‘ad infinitum’ through a locked groove makes the B-side complete.

A great record, don’t hesitate if you encounter it somewhere.

artist: Sonne Hagal
label: Eis & Licht
details: 10', 6 tracks. ltd. 450. [Eis011]