Track By Tracks: Kaldvard - Dømt Til Bål Og Brann (2019)


1. Nådeløs I land:

When I for example look out on a lake, I sometimes find myself thinking on the longboats that once sailed there. I try to imagine how committed these people where to be able to withstand the traveling conditions and the fact that when they sailed “passed me”, they knew that they were heading for great dangers long before they arrived to their destinations, many of them if not most of them got sunk in the storms on the open sea.

I also try to imagine the energy level they might have felt upon seeing land after such a though journey, and how invincible they must have felt reaching known and unknown territories. Much of our knowledge about these events might have been romanticized, written testimonies do tell about longboats approaching and panic spreading. It’s a clear fact that what happened when they went ashore, isn’t quite qualified for any peace prize.

2. Shield Wall:

Again, the Vikings. The Vikings I think will probably always be known as brutal conquerors, raiders thieves, rapists and barbarians in other countries. But most of the fighting was going on between themselves, tribe against tribe. Ambitions were often high, being a king would probably guaranty that you would have to either eliminate threats outside your tiny kingdom or face it on your own ground.

Shield Wall is a imagined situation were everything that is important to you is under attack at the same time, king, family, friends, farms and so on. Absolutely everything will be destroyed if your unfriendly neighbours get it their way. 

“House and names through the victor’s tales, take your axe and crush his face”. 

3. Dømt Til Bål Og Brann:

7 th of April 1590 Bergen.

Denmark-Norway.

The King of Denmark-Norway wanted to waste as little time as he could on the witch trials. It was one of his majesty’s biggest worries that witches and sorcerers couldn’t if not apprehended walk around in the land doing their deeds thus making God so angry that he would send his punishment over humanity. 

These lyrics is our interpretation on the story of Anne Pedersdotter. In 1552 she married a well-educated man, Absalon Pedersson Beyer, the city’s Latin lecturer. 

In her husband’s last year alive she was for the first time accused for sorcery. She was accused to have killed her husband’s uncle, so that her husband could become bishop. She was exonerated for this. After her husband’s death she was once again accused of having committed sorcery. She was among other things accused of killing the city’s babies, having ships skunked, participating in witch meetings, meeting a creature in the woods that was missing a head and using her former maid as riding creature on her way to one of her meetings. Even the judges in the trial where witnessing against her.

She was sentenced to death by fire.

4. Lyderhorn:

One of our seven mountains surrounding Bergen, I today live just behind it. This was a much-feared place in medieval times. This was one of the places where even Satan himself would meet the witches and sorcerers to have parties, setting up evil plans against the city, having huge orgies and more, the meetings here would especially take place on Christmas eve. The lyrics is an interpretation of what this mountain meant back then.

5. The Executioners Diary:

The lyrics mention a bloodline. In medieval times in Denmark-Norway, if you were the son of an executioner it would be your duty to pick up your father's profession. The orders would come to you by letter, and it would tell you where to travel to kill this person in public. Being an executioner would often condemn you to a kind of isolation. Not too many people would like to have a chat with a guy who chopped peoples head of for offenses we today see as for example minor offenses.

6. Tilbake:

Back to the Vikings, or let’s say "the end of them".

I have often tried to imagine how it must have been for those who where loyal to the old traditions seeing their culture slowly come to an end. At one point tribes where allowed to continue in their own way outside of Christianity, but politically this became difficult for them, and as the experts tells us, many of them probably converted for strategic reasons. But those who were stubborn would in the end become Christians or face death.

So the lyrics tells of a longing back to when each little kingdom where independent, proud and ready for anything.

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