RökFlöte by Jethro TullRelease date: April 21, 2023
Label: InsideOut Music
2023 has been a very busy year for Ian Anderson. The reissue of the monster edition of Jethro Tull’s 14th studio album The Broadsword and the Beast with Steven Wilson’s remix which celebrated its 40th anniversary, and the band’s follow-up to The Zealot Gene, RökFlöte. Based on the excerpts of the principal gods from the old Norse paganism, RökFlöte is another return to form for the Tull maestros to sit on the throne once more.
Listening to the new album not only sees Ian revisiting the folk-rock trilogy and its Celtic roots, but his storytelling format as well. It proves that yes Ian’s voice has been through a lot, but he still has enough fire inside his belly.
The climbing riffs and flute melody on ‘Ginnungagap’ speaks of the myths and legends between fire and ice with heavy metallic sounds, moog gliders, unexpected time signatures, and Italian prog to the core before returning to their pink Island years from ‘Living in the Past’ to Songs from the Wood-era for the ‘Allfather’ to occur.
When I think of ‘Wolf Unchained’ I think of the rising upwards to the mountains that the rhythm section brings forth. Parrish-James adds in that ascending melody, knowing O’Hara and Hammond are in hot pursuit to cross the finish line.
There are the gothic atmospheres, the church organ approaches, and Goodier laying the final touches for Ian to burst through the flood gates. Speaking of the Celtic backgrounds, Tull go in for the kill by channeling Premiata Forneria Marconi’s Manticore years on ‘Trickster (And the Mistletoe)’.
I hear not only the dance traditions, Loki’s mischief behaviour (No, not the Marvel comic character from the Thor universe), stop-and-go routines, and stepping into the winter traditions with the forces of good and evil battling each other out until the end. Reykjavik-based violinist and vocalist Unnur Birna does spoken dialog on ‘Volupso’ and Ithavoll’.
She’s very much the master of ceremonies, introducing the first act and the epilogue during these mythological stories you would read as a child. She helps listeners guiding through the Poetic Edda in her Icelandic voice before witnessing the rebirth of our home planet after the Norse mythology comes to an end with the surviving god reflecting the good old days.
RökFlöte as I’ve mentioned earlier is Tull’s return to sit on the throne once more. They proved they can still empower more adventures that awaits more ideas to see what Ian Anderson’s brain will think of next.