Oh, shackle the devil already! What is this refined black metal art doing toiling in the bowels of obscurity? Fallen Empire Records proudly presents us this band with the letter from God-knows-what alphabet.
No, really f*ckers, if you want refined, textured, intelligent black metal art, start here on Mispyrming’s Söngvar elds og óreiðu. It’s intense, and somewhat chaotic on occasion, like a maelstrom devouring fishing vessels on the sea into deep dark chasms where no life can exist. It is also, however, beautiful and resplendent to the ears. The songwriting shines on such majestic pieces as “Songur uppljomunar,” for one. This isn’t some album comprised of blasting from end-to-end with no arrangements. Each track devotes a riff to each section that is precise in a way that few black metal bands can muster for full-length releases.
What’s more is that this band hails from Reykjavik, Iceland, home to bands Sinmara and Svartidaudi. Some of the aforementioned bands might be members of this band and other projects from Iceland. The scene there is quite small, but features an extremely talented nucleus of musicians.
Track one, “Songur Hieftar” starts off reminding me of Mayhem’s Chimera opener, “Whore.” A full-on blast followed by a mid-tempo section and back. The track is very well-written and I was left doing my best to howl and scream along. The second track starts off with rung notes before hitting the fast-forward button again, blasting until the rung notes make a return. The slow sections feature some nice spoken word vocals that have plenty of sinister rasp to it, meaning that it’s not plain speech. It sounds like an angel tearing a cipher as the devil reads his sigil in an upset of God’s plans for the apocalypse.
There’s a strong lead section winding in and out of the tremolo riffs very subtly. If you don’t pay too much attention, the lead guitar gets lost amidst the blasting, but on slower sections the leads add a dynamic to the strong song structure. The performances on tap are top-notch. Again, another Icelandic album, some nice drumming to keep the band’s pulse. On track three, “Endokalasalmar,” the blasts stop, the rung notes hurl diamond cutters at your ears, then a transitional riff that builds up the crescendo just in time for the blast to close the song. Great dynamics. Great song structure. This sounds like the choices for my end-of-year list for 2015 got another worthy contender.
Slow sections with rung notes rule here, and although it’s no stanza-bridge-chorus one hit wonder formula for any of their songs, you get a feeling these guys from Iceland just know a good tremolo riff when they hear it, crafting songs with intensity while keeping them absurdly melodic. I’m punching a ticket to Iceland pretty soon, meatheads.