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Vogel – Ómstríð

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 12 October 2022, 11:55 AM

“Ómstríð” is a ten-song debut album, recorded in the fall of 2018 in Reykjavík, Iceland. It was released about a year later, October 19th 2019.  The lyrics are highly influenced by the peculiar nature of mental health, depression and anxiety in the land of cold and dark winters. It is about not feeling well.

“Heltekinn” is the first song. It begins with eerie clean guitars and a steady bass line. The mood is both peaceful and tense from the dichotomy in the instruments. The sound grows steadily more tense until the harsh vocals hit, furthering this feeling. It transitions to clean vocals at the half-way mark, and then the tense tones return. “Lægð” is a little less eerie, but the compositions remain unique, especially in the guitar progressions. They remind me of LEPROUS a bit in the way they hit accents. Clean vocals are paired with a moving bass line underneath, and the sound toggles between harsh and pleasing tones effortlessly.

“Djöfullinn sjálfur” is a shorter and more intense offering, from the double-time in the drums to the somewhat aggressive guitar accents. Again, it settles into a calm atmosphere, but still with tense tones in the background. It’s akin to getting robbed in broad daylight. You stroll like you don’t have a care in the world, and then…BAM…you are violated. “Tvífarinn” has a darkened sound nearly all the way through without clean vocals, and the Progressive elements are stronger here. Listen to the bass lines here in particular…Arnar really has a sense for how to bring out the best of that instrument. “Mér líður svo illa” begins with clean, melancholy tones and emotive clean vocals. The somber sound here lingers like a bad cold that you just can’t shake. It transitions to a darker fate towards the end, followed by tense ending tones.

“Snákarnir dvelja, strákarnir kvelja” features a bouncy little riff that hangs in the air with tones of desperation and depression. Here, the theme of the album comes through stronger. The sound backs off a bit towards the middle, then returns with vigor. “Móðan mikla” has a little more kick behind it, with hasty tones amidst the bleakness. At this point in the album however, the songs are starting to run together a bit. “Andlitið auða” has a swinging and bossy groove from that opening riff. Landing on open chords, they ride out a sequence that is harrowing. The clean vocal hums provide just a little relief from the cloudy sounds. “Vonleysa” closes the album. It’s not quite as memorable as some of the previous songs, but I love that ethereal section in the middle and those strolling bass notes towards the end.

This album is a perfect example of a band that sounds heavy and ethereal simultaneously. The musicians are quite effective at their instruments, as is the vocalist in the diverse way he delivers. Perhaps the biggest mystery of the album is trying to categorize it. To me, they probably draw influence from a few bands that come to mind immediately, like IHSAHN or LEPROUS. I would call it Progressive Black Metal, but that is just me. No matter what you call it, it is an excellent album with an original sound.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Heltekinn
2. Lægð
3. Djöfullinn sjálfur
4. Tvífarinn
5. Mér líður svo illa
6. Snákarnir dvelja, strákarnir kvelja
7. Móðan mikla
8. Andlitið auða
9. Glötun
10. Vonleysa
Arnar Ástvaldsson – Bass/Vocals
Arnar Snævar Eggertsson – Drums
Finnur Þór Helgason – Guitars
Sindri Snær Thorlacius – Guitars/Vocals
Record Label: Wormholedeath Productions


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Edited 23 March 2023

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