Realm and Ritual | 2-26-21
Yes! This review comes with no Bandcamp, yet, since the artist was kind enough to send me the record before its release in a few weeks. This, of course, is the smallest brag but I do appreciate being given access to a magical world from an artist I had missed in the past few years. In 2020, this Icelandic artist released two well received albums. Elven Rites is the third releases from Thorgnyr and continues the journey into melodic and understated dungeon synth. More so than Cycles or Depths, Elven Rites captures the quiet beauty of dungeon synth with a record that is delicate and enchanting. With a story surrounding a a political struggle following the death of an elven queen, Thorgnyr casts high drama with wisps of melodies which resemble paintings soon dispersed by a light breeze.
In the time before the actual release, one can get acquainted with he previous work from the artist which is a glacial landscape of classic dungeon synth.
Ván Records | 6-26-18
I wrote about this band way back in 2015 with their 2015 EP which turns out was not their first nor their last record. I remember being impressed with the ferocity and sound this Irish band brought to their recording. In 2018 I have learned new things, mainly this band shares many past and current members with the Icelandic black metal band Sinmara. While Slidhr is itself a separate entity, the grounding in the Icelandic sound makes sense as the band’s second full length winds down the rivers of hell into complete oblivion.
One of the more interesting aspects about Slidhr and the thing which really allows The Futile Fires of Man to make a connection are the lengthy tracks which fill this 46 minute record. Each song unpacks a lot of material which twists and winds its way through corridors of sound. Even some of the shorter tracks at 5 minutes, takes its time to craft mood and elaborately set the stage for presentations devoted to metaphysical darkness. While the band’s sound is obviously heavy given the nature, the lyrical and vocal content matches the weight of its subject matter. This is not fleeting occult references rather a reverence to forces unseen and potentially unknowable.
Ván Records | 11-24-17
For the sake of brevity, I decided to just put “black” as the genre as a full explanation would be too long for the post. It only takes a couple of minutes into the opener “Vaporous Flame” to realize that Almyrkvi’s debut operates on a different level than most atmospheric black metal as well as what has become known as Icelandic black metal. With no real place to stand, this act seems content in gazing up at the stars or most specifically the void between stars.
Ván Records | 1-15-15
Most of my discussion surrounding Iceland has been from a small group of black metal musicians making horrid and exciting music which sounds like the erupting of ancient volcanoes. Árstíðir lífsins is different. For one, this project spans countries with two of its members residing in Germany and the other in Iceland. Secondly the band is made up of three members who share all duties including strings, drums, and vocals. Though Árstíðir lífsins is complicated on paper, their third full length is nothing short of a horrid volcanic eruption.
Goddamn it. This would have gone perfectly with the mysterious crop of Icelandic black metal bands that suddenly appeared in the fields of 2014. Sinmara, Naðr, 〇, and Svartidauði were all dazzling and varying black metal projects which were as surprising as they were consistent. Mannveira’s Von Er Eiturwas released earlier in the year but after framing it within the context of other Icelandic black seems to fall in line and make much more sense.
Terratur Possessions | 8-28 – 14
Let it be known that either Iceland is slowly creeping into greater prominence or I just keep stumbling on related Icelandic black metal. Regardless of its true intentions, Sinmara is the fourth Icelandic black released covered on this site. I know that number does not seem incredibly high but when contrasted against the countries 93 registered bands on the Metal Archives and a total population of 310,000, four fantastic releases seems more and more significant.
Self Released | 8-29-14
2014 is shaping up to be the year of Icelandic black metal. With fantastic releases from Naðra and 〇 already confirmed, a mysterious release appears from Svartidauði as if plucked from the ether. Svartidauði has already had reasonable praise for their 2012 debut Flesh Cathedral as well as a handful of demos. In fact, the band released an already decent EP earlier this year entitled The Synthesis of Whore and Beast. That being said, their new album,III.XX.MMX, may not be the most traditional introduction for this band but its uniqueness is nothing short of apocalyptic.
Vánagandr | 8-11-14
Oh goodness golly. what are the chances I would stumble on two interesting Icelandic metal albums in the same month? What are the chances that I would stumble on on two great Icelandic metal records from the same label who only has three acts signed? The odds are getting astronomically slim. I believe I should count my blessings as the mysterious act known as 〇 has come to the world to cast a shroud of misery and gloom over the skies.
Vánagandr | 4-01-14
Na…..something….ra. I am taking a wild guess that it sounds sort of like Na-th-ra but in a more nuanced and chilly tone. Naðra comes as the confluence between three as of yet discovered metal bands from Iceland. If Carpe Noctem, Dysthymia, and Abacination come as blanks in ones metal knowledge, then Naðra can possibly your 4th Icelandic metal band you just found out about today. If I seem joking about Iceland’s metal climate it is only because it, as a country, as a far lower amount of metal bands than others. While this may seem obvious due to size, the actual product of heavy metal in Iceland is nothing short of fierce and ferocious.