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Auðn – Farvegir Fyrndar

Auðn
Farvegir Fyrndar
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 January 2018, 3:04 PM

Atmospheric/Melodic Black Metal quintet Auðn formed in Iceland in 2010. Following the release of their debut album in 2014, they are back now three years later with Farvegir Fyrndar, which contains nine tracks, titled in their native language. “Veröld hulin” leads off the album. Drums beat in an entrancing rhythm, while guitars buzz with thick distortion. We don’t get vocals until about half way in, but when we do, they are evil shrieks of anger and desolation. “Lífvana jörð” is a bit shorter, but with no less intensity. Sometimes the wall of sound drops off enough for some atmosphere to creep in, which really helps to cut the intensity, but the incensed vocals keep things pretty raucous.

It isn’t until “Haldreipi hugans” where we have a softer and prettier entrance. As the instruments make a heavier presence soon after, the slower pace builds a regal quality in the chord progressions, which come in layers. “Prísund” is the first song with any kind of vocal variation, as Sveinsson uses some lower ranged gutturals to deliver a different sound. As well, the vocals stick a little closer to the guitar riff. The wails towards the end are like witnessing a man’s last dying breath as he passes in agony. “Ljósaslæður” opens with soft acoustical guitar, playing nicely with bass guitar and drums. Soon the thunder comes, with flashes of lightning that illuminate the night sky. The charge in the air makes the hair on your arms stand at attention. “Blóðrauð sól” is another song with some varied vocal delivery, and a despondent type of drone that seems to just soak into you like a hearty rain.

“Eilífar nætur” opens with melancholy, and a sense of solitude. Before long however, any hopes you may have had are smashed into the soiled earth. This song in particular has more memorable moments of melody, though they are tucked away in corners that you sometimes have to search a bit harder for. The real oddball track on the album is “Skuggar;” not because it has an odd sound, but because it is somewhat of a departure from the other tracks. Delicate beauty and vibrant colors poke through the gray landscape, waiting to be discovered.

“Í hálmstráið held” closes the album with fervor and hatred. It’s the final sort of push and last gasp of energy on a fervent and pungent listening experience on the album as a whole. Though I did find myself longing for a few more diverse moments of melody and atmosphere, what was presented was enough to cut against the intensity of their Black Metal sound, creating that contrast that always seems to work so well in this style of music.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Veröld hulin
2. Lífvana jörð
3. Haldreipi hugans
4. Prísund
5. Ljósaslæður
6. Blóðrauð sól
7. Eilífar nætur
8. Skuggar
9. Í hálmstráið held
Lineup:
Aðalsteinn Magnússon – Guitar
Andri Björn Birgisson – Guitar
Hjalti Sveinsson – Vocals
Hjálmar Gylfason – Bass
Sigurður Kjartan Pálsson – Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist
     


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