Review: ÖRMAGNA “Örmagna” [Signal Rex]

Review: ÖRMAGNA “Örmagna” [Signal Rex]

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Since 2012 and the now famous Flesh Cathedral release by Svartidauði, the Icelandic Black Metal scene has really taken a grasp at world domination. Several bands, seemingly all situated in or near Reykjavík have gained a huge following and respect. One of these bands is Naðra. It was no surprise that their 2016 debut allir vegir til glötunar was eagerly received. Apart from the fact that Naðra are a truly talented outfit, Iceland is on fire right now and just like in the mid 90’s in Scandinavia, anything out of Iceland is grabbed and appreciated. Now, partially out of Naðra comes Örmagna… on the 1st of February 2019 they dropped a big ass bombshell via Signal Rex – their self-titled Örmagna debut album.

7 tracks and a run time of 41:28 keeps Örmagna within the usual realms of debut release. There’s plenty of time to showcase skill and get their lyrical content across. Mixed and mastered by none other than DG of Misþyrming. We are, make no mistake, onto a good thing.

The music has a quality of blues about it and it matches, maybe it was even written with Naðra vocalist Ö’s special powers in mind. It’s in the way you can hear the yearning away, painful and mournful. Completely bittersweet and undeniably comfortable. “Háskinn í Seljunum” is a prime example of this blues attitude, alongside being released as a showcase single in 2018. Moods take shape within, pace slow and lingering, a dirty type of longing. Like an empty cigarette packet in the snow. The album absolutely reeks of a blues attitude, something I think is not uncommon in metal but the way it’s been handled is something of note. It’s grimy goodness.

Örmagna are Black Metal for sure, through and through. They are a little different though, it’s as though the music is laced and layered with the deep longing of a doom band, the pace too. The drums hit their mark well here, skin work by H is the type I can easily appreciate – a heavy emphasis on ride cymbals and bells bringing a sharp urgency to the drum kit. The guitar work offered up by A, G and S is stellar, capturing the essence and passion through their strings. Long and drawn out, sometimes atonal, always beautiful. Then the vocals, oh boy those vocals. The fact that Naðra vocalist Ö is doing his best to make you spit in anger and cry in public throughout, will surely bring more fans toward Örmagna. This guy can convey his pain with the passion of a lamenting emotional mess. His vocal talent is truly inspiring and unequalled, absolutely.

I really, absolutely recommend this to any Black Metal fan. This album has a good chance of being in my AOTY 2019 list. You can explore Bandcamp and Signal Rex to find your preferred edition of this Örmagna masterpiece.

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