Review: AUÐN “Vökudraumsins fangi” [Season of Mist]

Review: AUÐN “Vökudraumsins fangi” [Season of Mist]

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From the cold and authentic Nordic island of Iceland the atmospheric black metal tough guys Auđn present their third full-length album “Vökudraumsins Fangi” (which translates as “Prisoner of the daydream”). It’s their second release in collaboration with Season of Mist, bleak, prudent and unique sort of black metal.

Recently the heavy metal scene has been undulated by Icelandic black metal with a notorious list of talented and offbeat bands, like Svartidauđi or Misþyrming, totally changing the whole perception of this unique phenomenon. Auđn has just celebrated tenth anniversary, trying convincingly to follow the lead of these extreme Icelandic bands, but with a sharp urge for independency. And now their name has been increasingly used among these respectable local metal stars; with every new record Auđn dives deeper into the essential core of truly dark and depressive music. And their new creation “Vökudraumsins Fangi” proved, that they don’t stand still, they evolve their music, recollecting all the darkest feelings and senses into reserved and cohesive form of art, and piercing the soul with the coldest shrewdness like the most torrid fire.

Despite the coldness and detachment, “Vökudraumsins Fangi” is quite dynamic record with the intelligent and pertinent mood changes. The melancholic yearning and atmospheric solitude are the main emotional components on this records, everything is soaked with agony and gloomy loneliness. Only the songs “Einn um alla tíð” and “Birtan Hugann Brennir” represent some sort of optimistic major vibes, alluding to some shoegaze elements and post-black versatility. But downtrodden aura and over-emotional sorrowful screams also indicate that Auđn are not so far from depressive suicidal black metal. But the musicians strongly hold on tight to black metal philosophy, sharing all the possibilities of this genre into this frozen (but not static) musical vision.

This music can barely be labeled as entertaining, it is serious and deep in its naked fragility, but still its core is tenacious and struggling. Some of the songs begin with sad acoustic introductions (“Einn um alla tíð” or self-titled “Vökudraumsins Fangi”), melancholic and airy, accurately defining the temper of the songs. The ambiance on this record is really important; the structural and technical mastery is slightly sidelined in the background, highlighting the general tone and atmosphere. Not all the songs are based on depressive and melancholic forms, “Eldborg” stresses out some anthemish pace with strong melodic lines. The somber doomy passages are common on this record (like “Horfin Mér”), even stronger pointing out the references to DSBM. The catchy and bright guitar riffs (with all the classic tricks, like the distorted buzzing sound or high-pitched tones) really justify the three guitar players in the band, and with solid and fast drumming and smooth bass-guitar lines, the wholeness of this band is really impressive. And the passionately emotional and desperate singing of Hjalti Sveinsson overwhelms the music with various feelings of utter hopelessness and ear-piercing obscurity with endless cries that lead to nowhere.

Every three years Auđn presents new and unique record, delicately coping with previous mistakes and powerfully increasing the quality of the material and their own distinctiveness through the bloodiest thicket of darkness and pain. So without a doubt, Auđn has managed to personify the concept of coldest fears and darkest misery into this depressing record.

Release date: October 30, 2020

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About the author

Ilona Adhlactha
I am into metal music from the school times, started from traditional genres, and now exploring the experimental scene. I'm also interested in modern architecture and contemporary art.

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