Review: Illkynja “Sæti Sálarinnar” [Goathorned Productions]

Review: Illkynja “Sæti Sálarinnar” [Goathorned Productions]

- in Reviews
Score 77%
Behold this amazing newborn spawn of Icelandic Black Metal, inviting us all to a wicked and atmospheric journey through the horrors of the void.
77 %
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A mysterious one-man entity hailing from the ever-vital Icelandic Black Metal scene, Akureyri, Iceland-based act Illkynja (or “malignant” in English) bursts forth from the void fully formed, with the project’s debut full-length recording, entitled Sæti Sálarinnar, evincing a maturity far beyond the band’s young years. Experiencing the sinister Sæti Sálarinnar, which translates as “the seat of the soul” from Icelandic, is like entering a smokestack in outer space, showcasing all the creativity and passion for extreme music by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Þórður, whose full name is Þórður Indriði Björnsson, known from his amazing work with other bands like Hræ, Guðveiki and Endalok. In other words, no one can hear you scream in space, and the same can be said for Illkynja’s Sæti Sálarinnar a hundredfold, inviting us all to join Þórður in his wicked and atmospheric journey through the horrors of the void.

Right from the very first second, Þórður and his brand new alter-ego Illkynja offer our ears an incendiary feast of Icelandic Black Metal in Ég er ljósið, eldurinn og upphafið (“I am the light, the fire and the beginning”), pounding his drums manically while roaring deeply and darkly, while in the even more demented and disturbing Holdið (“hold”), Þórður slashes his guitar in great fashion extracting sheer malignancy from his riffs, with his bass punches adding an extra touch of violence and groove to the music. Then get ready for eight minutes of dementia and obscurity in the form of Black Metal infused with elements from Doom Metal and other Stygian styles in Allt er glatað (“everything is lost”), where sluggish beats and a creepy atmosphere will penetrate deep inside your soul, and after the cryptic interlude Dauðaþögn (“silence”), it’s time for Þórður to darken our hearts once again with Sjálfseyðing (“self-destruction”), sounding deep, bold and atmospheric from start to finish, also presenting minimalist guitars intertwined with his trademark devilish snarling.

Then flying like an arrow on fire in pitch black darkness we have the multi-layered, infernal title-track Sæti Sálarinnar, where Þórður takes his evil growling to a whole new level while at the same time he hammers his guitar in the most Black Metal way imaginable, making an instant connection with the also sulfurous Guðhaus (“godhead”), showcasing smashing beats and endless obscurity flowing from Þórður’s inhumane growls, and the music keeps growing in intensity until becoming an untamable beast. In Pest we’re treated to less than two minutes of raw and primeval Icelandic Black Metal not recommended for the lighthearted, hitting us hard in the head before the grim and somber Dýrð í harmleik (“glory in tragedy”) puts a melancholic, damned ending to the album, with Þórður venturing through the realms of Atmospheric Doom Metal. It loses its grip after a while, though, but it’s still a very enjoyable display of Þórður’s venomous talent.

This precious gem of Icelandic Black Metal can be better appreciated in its entirety on YouTube, but as usual in order to show your true support to underground extreme music you should definitely follow Illkynja on Facebook for news and other nice-to-know details about the project, and purchase a copy of Sæti Sálarinnar from Illkynja’s own BandCamp page, from the Narbentage Produktionen’s BandCamp page (cassette version), or from the Goathorned Productions’ Big Cartel as a digipak CD limited to 300 copies or as a very special box limited to 60 copies including a slipcase CD, a t-shirt, a metal pin, a sticker and photo cards. If you’re one of those metalheads who’s always thrilled when a new Black Metal band arises from the distant and cold Iceland you’ll surely have a blast listening to Sæti Sálarinnar, an album that not only depicts to perfection the current state of the Icelandic extreme music scene, but that will also, as aforementioned, drag you to the solitude and darkness of outer space forever and ever.

Best moments of the album: Ég er ljósið, eldurinn og upphafið, Sæti Sálarinnar and Guðhaus.

Worst moments of the album: Dýrð í harmleik.

Released on September 15th, 2020 – Goathorned Productions

Track listing

  1. Ég er ljósið, eldurinn og upphafið 4:57
  2. Holdið 5:00
  3. Allt er glatað 8:00
  4. Dauðaþögn 0:46
  5. Sjálfseyðing 2:30
  6. Sæti Sálarinnar 7:44
  7. Guðhaus 5:04
  8. Pest 1:46
  9. Dýrð í harmleik 5:48

Band members

Þórður – vocals, all instruments

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