Frigga's Web by Hagalaz' Runedance
I think I actually liked this better the first time I heard it than I do on repeated listenings, and that's not a good sign.
I want to like it - all Norse mythology themed and all - but it just falls flat, especially in comparison to the not-quite-Norse but fantastic (Finntastic?) Arctic Silence by Merja Soria and Kari Rueslatten's faerie tale themed (I think - it's in Norse =) Spindelsinn.
Kind of funny that I think of those two prime examples of northern European female vocalists, one very traditional and the other traditionally spirited, instead of Vinland Saga by Leaves' Eyes, the playing of which led to a friend playing Frigga's Web and another disc or two by Hagalaz' Runedance. Whereas the former is German power prog metal with a soprano (who happens to be Norse), Hagalaz' Runedance, while often classified under rock, really is not.
Stylistically, Frigga's Web really has the same feel for me as some of the Llewellyn formulaic new age books - sure, it's Norse myths, but it just doesn't ring as true as the real thing, like Merja Sorja's performance of works from The Kalevala, or Liv Kristine's (vocalist for Leaves' Eyes) lyrics that really seem to capture the essence of the journey to Vinland (fictionalized, of course; but often through her own eyes, as a wife & mother left behind).
For some reason, I just can not connect to this, although I did at first listen. The only thing I can think of is that I preferred one of the other Hagalaz' Runedance discs.
-- Gave it another listen earlier today, and maybe this seems a bit harsh. The music is good, although with a Celtic or even English Baroque feel, but the vocals sound more like pseudochants than the actual historical music from Scandinavia. Hmm, on second thought, I'm not sure that is much better...