By: Immanuel Mathias & Ralka Skjerseth
Even though relatively small, but the Icelandic black metal scene sure gets their thing going with some uprising names such as Sinmara, Carpe Noctem, Svartidauði, Naðra, and Misþyrming. One of the Icelandic black metal masterpieces mentioned earlier, Misþyrming, released a new album entitled Algleymi. Honestly, listening to their earlier album Söngvar elds og óreiðu feels like letting the heat of Iceland’s volcano eruption thrive into you, in the midst of the mountains. It just feels as if it’s the most heated album ever in one’s lifetime. But Algleymi offers a different nuance, that envisages even further how “Icelandic” they are. This album is just as impeccable as Misþyrming’s earlier materials, from the first to the last track with its atmospheric vibes. The authentic kind of material that this album offers makes the grandeur and signature identity of their sounds remain intact. The softly moving progressions ignite the force in this album. A personal favorite happens to be Alsæla, due to its drum beats that bear a resemblance to a war metal guitar riff in their tight component.
This album is released under the French underground label Norma Evangelium Diaboli, which previously has released albums by some renowned names such as Dissection, Deathspell Omega, and Watain. It’s an otherworldly album that presents malevolent blast beats and decent tremolo picking. The bass lines also form a chaotic tone that gives a whole new atmosphere. The songwriting here bears some resemblances to the Finnish black metal unit Sargeist and fellow Icelanders Sólstafir when they were still presenting black metal materials before moving onto post metal. The album seems to be influenced by the second and third wave black metal scene.
The opening track Orgia is of dissonant blast beats that linger into the listeners’ minds. The next track is Með svipur á lofti consists of chaotic riffs and fast paced beats accompanied by howling vocals and layered melodic elements. The energy is vehement and it brings intense vibes. The third track Ísland, steingelda krummaskuð features a Wovenhand-like opening and dynamic drumming that stays in a consistent pace. The lyrics that they wrote on this track seem to manifest some sort of resentment towards their own country, calling Iceland as a “castrated dump” and telling that “here, nothing will ever prosper or grow”— but then I don’t know what’s the exact interpretation of this song. The fourth track, Hælið is a short and slow-paced poignant track with a post rock-like tone. The fifth track Og er haustið líður undir lok has a steady pace and features high pitched growling vocals. The sixth track Allt sem eitt sinn blómstraði also has blast beats that are on an even faster pace, and epic segments from the guitars. The seventh track Alsæla features rapid rhythms and abrasive vocals that are really solid. The last track, Algleymi, is a perfect closer with its harrowing atmosphere. Overall, Algleymi is a decent take on a newer wave of black metal.