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Himinbjorg - Wyrd Award winner

by Erika Kuenstler at 16 November 2015, 7:13 PM

HIMINBJORG is a Black/Viking Metal band hailing from France who managed to achieve quite a cult status in the Black Metal scene there since their inception in the 90s. Back with their seventh full-length album “Wyrd” a full five years since the luke-warm reception of their experimental “Chants d'hier, Chants de guerre, Chants de la Terre…” release, “Wyrd” sees the band return to their roots, much to the delight of older fans.

Starting off with a tranquil opening complete with soothing sounds of flowing water overlaid with a descant on bagpipes, the pace is set for what is yet to come. And just like that, we thunder into the galloping pace of “The Sword of Dignity”, using repetitive riffs to build up the atmosphere. A similar song structure follows in “The World of Men Without Virtue - The Circle of Disillusion”, although here intoned vocals add an arcane feel to the music, whilst a more melodious air is woven into the second half of the song, coupled with a searing guitar solo. It is only in “The Circle of Warriors” that the Black Metal influences truly kick in, although this is countered by the underlying tune which remains steadfastly Pagan. Again, this style is carried over to the next song, “Initiation”, albeit in a colder and darker vein. This is all magnified in “The Mirror of Suffering - The Circle of Ghosts”, perhaps the most outstanding song on the album. This song is murky and powerful, tainted with a hint of insanity, and by the time we reach “The Shamanic Whisper”, we are all too ready for a return to the more ritualistic style. After this, the hypnotic and light airs of the instrumental interlude “Another Shore” seem a little too out of place, almost as if it were too happy after the tumultuous journey we have endured thus far. Closing song “The Eternal Light” on the other hand is a despair-tinted slow-paced number that drags you down into the void.

Very generally speaking, “Wyrd” follows a progression from the lighter and more Pagan aspects of HIMINBJORG to soundscapes that seem to be woven out of macabre nightmares. This progression is well built up, with song structures that build on their predecessors. On the other hand, more traditional instruments are added, bringing to life a more Pagan aspect of their music, whilst instrumental sections and interludes provide captivating moments of atmospheric flourishes, something which is further embellished on by the various guest musicians on a range of unusual string and wind instruments.

With a clearer sound quality than their previous albums, the versatility of the album is really able to shine through unhindered, making for a spellbinding listen. If you’re looking for something a little different, give this a try!

4 Star Rating

1. Intro - Call to the Being
2. The Sword of Dignity
3. The World of Men Without Virtue - The Circle of Disillusion
4. The Circle of Warriors
5. Initiation
6. The Mirror of Suffering - The Circle of Ghosts
7. The Shamanic Whisper
8. Another Shore
9. The Eternal Light
Kahos - Drums
Zahaah - Vocals, Bass, Rhythm guitars, Acoustic guitars, Keyboards, Samples
Record Label: Osmose Productions


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Edited 31 May 2023

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