Review: AUÐN “Farvegir Fyrndar”

Review: AUÐN “Farvegir Fyrndar”

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AUÐN “Farvegir Fyrndar”
Season of Mist

Delivering haunting melodies and beautifully frozen atmospheres, this Icelandic Black Metal quintet is more than ready to spread their black wings over the world with their second full-length installment.

For all its beauty, Iceland can be a sinister place where furious elements rage, teaching fear but also inspiring human creativity. Founded in the bleak winter of 2010 in the village of Hveragerði, in the south of the volcanic island, Atmospheric Black Metal act Auðn is the latest offspring from the burgeoning Black Metal scene in this land of ice and snow to set their dark sails for foreign shores, presenting what they like to call “Icelandic Black Metal” to the world. After the release of their 2014 debut self-titled album, Auðn are more than ready to spread their black wings over us all again with a brand new installment titled Farvegir Fyrndar, which means “Ancient Riverbeds”, delivering haunting melodies and beautifully frozen atmospheres inspired by a more classic second-generation Black Metal.

Featuring a raw and poignant cover art by Icelandic artist Víðir “Mýrmann” Þrastarson, Farvegir Fyrndar is a lush and elegant blast of grand Icelandic Black Metal that proves the remarkable success the band has been facing in the past couple of years is not in vain, leading them to play at one of the biggest Icelandic festivals, called Eistnaflug, as well as in international events like Inferno (Norway) and Roadburn Festival (The Netherlands). In addition, how not to have fun listening to an album of Extreme Metal entirely sung in an idiom that not even a good translator can help you understand the lyrics in full, but that even with that language barrier it’s totally possible to comprehend the overall message the band wants to disseminate with their ominous sounds?

The tribal beats by drummer Sigurður Kjartan Pálsson ignite the atmospheric, darkened feast titled Veröld Hulin, being quickly joined by the blazing guitars by Aðalsteinn Magnússon and Andri Björn Birgisson, suddenly exploding into visceral Scandinavian Black Metal led by the demonic growling by frontman Hjalti Sveinsson. Then, even more brutal and Stygian we have Lífvana Jörð, where the wall of sound created by the infernal blast beats by Sigurður and the slashing riffs by both Aðalsteinn and Andri will crush you mercilessly, all boosted by phantasmagoric breaks to make things more tenebrous than you can imagine. And in order to properly close the first batch of Icelandic extreme tunes in Farvegir Fyrndar, this talented five-piece squad offers more atmospheric and unearthly passages in Haldreipi Hugans, showcasing over 8 minutes of complex and aggressive music that begins in a Depressive Black Metal mode before morphing into old school Black Metal.

In Prísund, more rhythmic and epic than all previous songs, Sigurður gets the help of bassist Hjálmar Gylfason to bring forward a hellish background of resonating tones, being by far one of the most impactful and therefore complete songs of the album; whereas Ljósaslæður displays a more serene intro with melancholic guitar lines and slow-paced drums, but that peace doesn’t last for long as Hjalti returns with his rabid gnarls, with the entire band once again filling all possible spaces with their thunderous instruments. And in Blóðrauð Sól the vocals by Hjalti get slightly deeper and more piercing, while the guitars by Aðalsteinn and Andri continue to darkly bruise our senses. This is definitely one of those songs made for banging your head like a maniac while getting drunk with mead and raising your horns to the beast, I should say.

Eilífar Nætur brings forward another eerie start that makes the entire ambient heavy and obscure, setting the tone for Hjalti to haunt our souls once again while Sigurður has an absolutely demolishing performance on drums. The second to last onslaught of Icelandic Black Metal comes in the form of a touching, melancholic creation by Auðn that transpires darkness and pain, titled Skuggar, where beautiful guitar lines powerfully complement the anguished vociferations by Hjalti, not to mention how its final guitar solo will penetrate deep inside your mind. And closing this disturbing and multi-layered album we have one last breath of chthonic screams and diabolical guitars named Í Hálmstráið Held, with the storm of Black and Doom Metal beats by Sigurður guiding the listener to a one way journey to the depths of hell.

If you want to take a full listen at Farvegir Fyrndar, simply go to YouTube or Spotify, but if you already know how awesome the music by Auðn sounds you can buy your copy of the album directly from the band’s own BamdCamp page, at the Season of Mist webshop, on iTunes or on Amazon. As aforementioned, Auðn are aiming at revamping what is commonly known as Icelandic Black Metal with their classic but at the same time unique approach, and if they keep delivering albums like Farvegir Fyrndar in the future, not only they’ll thrive in their mission but they’ll certainly become a worldwide reference in the genre.

Best moments of the album: Lífvana Jörð, Prísund and Skuggar.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released November 10, 2017.

Track listing

  1. Veröld Hulin 6:24
  2. Lífvana Jörð 4:06
  3. Haldreipi Hugans 8:04
  4. Prísund 4:03
  5. Ljósaslæður 6:37
  6. Blóðrauð Sól 4:27
  7. Eilífar Nætur 5:42
  8. Skuggar 5:14
  9. Í Hálmstráið Held 5:20

Band members
Hjalti Sveinsson – vocals
Aðalsteinn Magnússon – guitar
Andri Björn Birgisson – guitar
Hjálmar Gylfason – bass
Sigurður Kjartan Pálsson – drums

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