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Onetime vocalist for Norwegian metallers The 3rd and the Mortal, Kari Rueslåtten has since forged a successful solo career for herself. Steadily releasing albums from the mid-nineties until the mid-noughties, she put her artistry on hiatus in 2005, before pursuing further musical endeavours eight years later. Further solo works followed and now, in 2020, we have her eighth autonomous full-lengther, ‘Sørgekåpe’.

Harking back to her debut album, ‘Spindelsinn’, she’s written lyrics in her native Norwegian. However, far from distancing me during the listening experience (my grasp on the Norwegian language is drastically limited), I found myself curiously intrigued and drawn further into songs that spoke to me in so many other ways than mere words. A foreign language to me, lyrically, but we’re all bound together by the universal language of music. More specifically, we’re bound together by the profound sense of emotions inherent within Rueslåtten’s music, and it’s the depth of emotion within her vocal delivery that truly speaks to my being.

We’re dealing with a platter of easy-on-the-ear, gentle-on-the-soul tunes on ‘Sørgekåpe’ - ostensible minimalism in their general composition, arrangements and delivery, but with so many affective depths, all eloquently crafted through instrumentations and voice. There are the dreamy, ethereal sways of ‘Blind’ and ‘Månen lyser ned’, contrasted with the uplifting impetus of ‘Svever’ and ‘Alt brenner nå’. Then there’s the delicate beauty of ‘Savn’ and the gorgeous melancholy of ‘Storefjell’. Album opener ‘Sørgekåpe’ kind of resides in that ambivalent middle-ground, with the general feeling of a melancholic optimism. And not forgetting the rootsy, bluesy ‘Øye for øye’, which is a stylistic departure from the rest of the tracks.

Of the other personnel involved, aside from Rueslåtten herself, who performs lead vocals and piano, there’s Jostein Ansnes on guitar and backing vocals; bassist Gjermund Silset; drummer Stian Lundberg and Frode Flemsæter on keys. Ansnes also took on the role of producer and he’s done a marvellous job, preserving and conveying all of the beautiful atmospheres intrinsic to the heartfelt emotions in each and every track. All in all, ‘Sørgekåpe’ is a timelessly beautiful album and one I’ll no doubt be returning to time and again.
Spindelsinn Recordings
Review by Mark Holmes
8th May 2020
1) Sørgekaape
2) Svever
3) Månen lyser ned
4) Når mørket faller
5) Blind
6) Alt brenner nå
7) Savn
8) Øye for øye
9) Storefjell
"...a timelessly beautiful album..."