Band: Frummyrkrið | Album: Dauðans Myrkri | Genre: Post-metal, Black metal, Progressive metal |
From: Akureyri, Iceland | Label: Independent
For fans of: Enslaved, Misþyrming
Edit: This band’s Bandcamp page has vanished, and there does not currently seem to be a legit way to acquire this album. There are also rumors that this band is actually Brazilian, but I have not found any confirmation on that. I will update this as more info comes out.
I’ve previously talked about countries punching above their weight in musical influence relative to their population. Arguably, no country does this better than Iceland. With a population smaller than most mid-sized cities, this island nation has an impressive crop of musical ambassadors representing post-rock (Sigur Rós), black metal (plenty of acts, but most notably Sólstafir and Misþyrming), and whatever the fuck Björk is (Björk).
Frummyrkrið (Icelandic for “Primordial Darkness”) is a new band composed of three siblings. Dauðans Myrkri (The Darkness of Death) is an impressive debut which skillfully weaves influences such as traditional prog, ambient music, and “Viking metal” into distinctive Icelandic black metal. (I could write a whole rant on my distaste for the term “Viking metal,” but it does conjure up a specific style of music which is applicable here.)
The album begins with “Umlukinn dauðans myrkri” (“Surrounded by the Darkness of Death”), a storming, furious piece of post-black metal. When the tempo slows down near the song’s midsection, ethereal synth pads are deployed to wonderful effect. The song’s second half features a Steven Wilson-inspired bit of menacing spoken word over foreboding synths, and that leads into a pleasingly melodic guitar solo.
“Ég féll niður i tómið” (“I Fell into the Void”) also opens up on a pummeling note, though the verses have a rather Vreid-y groove to them. The band deploys a creepy organ tone at points which works better than I would have expected, as organ can often sound a bit weird in the more extreme varieties of metal. The organ solo is especially praiseworthy. Electronics are deployed more adventurously on this song, reminding me of certain modern krautrock acts, like Vespero or Föllakzoid.
There’s finally an extended lull with “Frosinn i algleymi” (“Frozen in Oblivion”). It features Icelandic spoken-word over an ominous synth drone. The music gradually grows more complex as flute, chimes, and acoustic guitar enter. As far as interludes go, this is a pretty strong one.
Dauðans Myrkri closes on the 17-minute epic, “Frummyrkrið mun gleypa allt” (“The Primordial Darkness Will Absorb Everything”). The opening moments are surprisingly reminiscent of Батюшка, with doomy guitars and chanted vocals. The atmosphere early on is unique. Plinking acoustic guitars eventually give way to the expected walls of distortion, but that textural and timbral variation is appreciated. This multi-parted song goes through some interesting movements, ranging from plodding doom to searing black metal, to expansive post-metal. The closing section blends together recurring themes into a satisfying finale.
On their debut record, Frummyrkrið offers up some excellent proggy black metal (as well as a chance to use eð multiple times; and mentioning Misþyrming allowed me to use þorn). The individual songs are mostly fairly long, but none of them ever feel bloated. These compositions sound thought-out and purposeful, and I’m excited to see what they can produce in the future.