Icelandic Metal

Auðn – Vökudraumsins Fangi Review

Auðn – Vökudraumsins Fangi Review

“It’s one thing to write a review of a returning band you’ve reviewed before. It’s a whole other ballgame to review a returning band that one of the most respected and revered staff members on the site has covered previously. If their review was controversially critical about a popular young artist well on the rise, the pressure only mounts. Not that I disagree with Grymm’s take on Auðn’s last offering. Being relatively fresh to black metal and its myriad offshoots, I hadn’t heard Farvegir Fyrndar before, but on a cursory spin, the unpopular stance that the production ruined an otherwise very solid piece of Icelandic atmo-black rang true with yours truly.” New day, new production.

Illkynja – Sæti Sálarinnar Review

Illkynja – Sæti Sálarinnar Review

Illkynja, like many of its country’s blackened offerings, is a project shrouded in mystery. It’s unknown how many members are involved or how prolific to the scene–only that the project is Icelandic in origin. Goathorned Productions debut Sæti Sálarinnar features all the hallmarks of Icelandic style: scathing layers of dissonance, pummeling drums, and punishing roars reminiscent of Almyrkvi or Andavald.” Iceland, man.

Hræ – Þar sem skepnur reika Review

Hræ – Þar sem skepnur reika Review

“Iceland. What on earth do they put in the water over there? With a population of a small city, the country is consistently at the cutting edge of black metal. More importantly, there’s a certain aesthetic that is unique to the country; you just know when you’re listening to an Icelandic band. Now we have Hræ, the project of scene-veteran, I, who has appeared in other groups like Endalok, Naught and Guðveiki.” Iceland ascendant.

Cult of Lilith – Mara

Cult of Lilith – Mara

Cult of Lilith is one of those bands that are in the middle of what journalists and label blurb writers might call a ‘meteoric rise.’ Hailing from Iceland, the quintet has only one EP and no demos to their name since their inception in 2015. Yet Mara, their debut full-length, is already coming out through Metal Blade, one of the biggest labels in the business. On top of that, none other than semi-classical master painter and annual album art top 10 contestant Eliran Kantor delivered the ever excellent cover, and producer Dave Otero has such names as Cattle Decapitation, Archspire and Cephalic Carnage on his resume.” Big buzz, big expectations.

Núll – Entity Review

Núll – Entity Review

“Off the top of my balding head, I can’t think of a genre that’s more difficult to pull off convincingly than depressive suicidal black metal. It takes quite a talented hand to navigate that particular battleship down those choppy seas. Go too hard, and you run the risk of being unlistenable, borderline or not. Go too soft, and you’re tossed into the tar pits and forever labeled a “try-hard edgelord” by those who should know better than to go that route. So I can empathize with any band trying to crack into that difficult niche market, and it doesn’t hurt that in this case, we have a band comprised of members of Carpe Noctem and Misþyrming.” Balancing despair.

Volcanova – Radical Waves Review

Volcanova – Radical Waves Review

“When you see the word “Iceland” floating on the oily surface of the promo sump, your thoughts turn immediately to black metal. That’s been Iceland’s chief metal export for some time now and the scene is well regarded and expanding. You certainly wouldn’t think of that exotic locale as the home of desert stoner rock, but Volcanova is out to change that with their fuzzed out debut Radical Waves.” Smoke on the ice.

Nyrst – Orsök Review

Nyrst – Orsök Review

“My last review took us to Finland to meet the mighty Bythos. This time we’ll head to another region on our quest north through Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Our destination? Iceland. Alongside stalwarts Misþyrming and Svartidauði, the newly conceived Nyrst likes its black metal as cold as the Arctic. In some cases, even more so than their countrymen.” Ice, ice, baby.

Misþyrming – Algleymi [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Misþyrming – Algleymi [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“As El Cuervo pointed out in his coverage of the band’s debut, Söngvar managed to be both avant-garde but also thrillingly, devastatingly alive. As a result, I was thoroughly looking forward to the follow-up. Algleymi arrived, and to the disappointment of some fans, it wasn’t Söngvar part 2. No, it was something else entirely, but definitely not something you’d want to miss.” Strange ice.