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Dynfari - The Four Doors Award winner

The Four Doors
by Lauren Fonto at 01 April 2017, 3:13 PM

Dynfari have created an interesting concept for “The Four Doors of the Mind”. They’ve combined the theories of fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss on the mind’s ability to cope with pain, as well as writings on human nature by 20th century existentialist poet Jóhan Sigurjónsson. Their sound is a blend too – gritty black metal combines with post-rock soundscapes and other instruments such as the accordion, flute and bouzouki.

The introduction to the album by Jóhan Örn (in the promo material) gave other interesting insights into the album. The choice to use traditional black elements for the songs about sleep and forgetting, and more mellow music for those about pain, madness, and death were deliberate. As I listened to the album, I came to agree with the logic in these choices. The harsh elements reflect how sleep and forgetting “may not be enough” (to quote Örn) when dealing with pain. But death can be peaceful and beautiful, which is reflected in the gentler, more beautiful second half of the album.

Time became irrelevant while listening – long songs (such as tracks 2, 3 and 8) felt so short. The songs are written in such a way that ideas don’t outstay their welcome, while at the same time a strong sense of coherency is maintained throughout. From the opener, things transition smoothly into “1st Door: Sleep”. The acoustic and electric riffs reinforce the idea that sleep, that supposedly peaceful realm, is indeed not enough to escape pain. The classic black metal elements kick in, with unique vocals from Jóhan Örn. Hjálmar’s bass is rich in tone, while Jón Emil’s drum parts are engaging. “Sorgarefni segi eg þér” opens with a delicately picked opening riff (Bragi and Örn produce some stellar riffs here and throughout the album), which gives way to catchy blastbeats. The haunting chants and clean vocals sent shivers down my spine, in a good way. “4th Door: Death” is a spectacular closer, and is one of those songs which actually needs the extra length to develop itself fully. The initial minimalist approach gives an impression of the stillness and silence of death. The guitar work isn’t showy, but that quality isn’t needed in this case; the subtle variations and counter melodies are compelling enough.

DYNFARI have produced a work of great beauty. That statement is perhaps “fangirlish”, but I stand by it nonetheless, because this was an album which I found genuinely moving. Örn stated in the promo material that his reason for using the subject of pain in his music is because of what he endured while being treated for an autoimmune disease. He goes on to say that a successful coping strategy includes believing that ultimately, peace will be found. I felt that it was this positivity which made an album about bleak subjects beautiful in its own way.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Four Doors of the Mind
2. 1st Door: Sleep
3. Sorgarefni segi eg þér

4. 2nd Door: Forgetting
5. Sorg
6. 3rd Door: Madness
7. Bikarinn
8. 4th Door: Death
Jóhan Örn – Vocals, guitars
Jón Emil – Percussion
Hjálmar – Bass
Bragi – Guitar
Record Label: Code666 Records


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Edited 16 July 2018

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