Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Album Review; Árstíðir lífsins - ‘Aldafǫðr Ok Munka Dróttinn’

Released Via Ván Records
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Track Listing:

1. Kastar heljar brenna fjarri ofan Ǫnundarfirðinum
2. Knǫrr siglandi birtisk á löngu bláu yfirborði
3. Þeir heilags dóms hirðar
4. Úlfs veðrit er ið CMXCIX
5. Máni, bróðir Sólar ok Mundilfara
6. Tími er kominn at kveða fyrir þér
7. Norðsæta gætis, herforingja Ormsins langa
8. Bituls skokra benvargs hreggjar á sér stað
9. Sem lengsk vánar lopts ljósgimu hvarfs dregr nærri

Opening with a twelve minute song makes it clear that Árstíðir lífsins don’t make music to appease the short attention spans of some of today’s music consumers. Instead, it has been their goal to record an album telling a realistic tale of the Christianisation of Iceland in the year 1000. The result is a black metal album which traverses across pagan and folk territories on its epic journey. It’s a journey that you will want to join, but you’d best make sure you have the stamina in order to go the distance, as this record is no less than 81 minutes in length, comprising nine tracks across two discs. The narrative language may be Old Icelandic, but the depth and appreciation for the source material that Árstíðir lífsins drew their inspiration from is loud and clear, easily outlined by the multi-faceted and spellbinding nature of each composition on this record. You can almost hear the conflict of those times in the olden wilds of Iceland pouring out of the speakers; the intensity projected in the black metal sides of these songs, with the sadness of struggle depicted in the stunning lower-key moments, sounding like a fitting eulogy and tribute to a cultural heritage and tradition long lost to the pressures of external influences. This album flows like a dream and sounds just as majestic. It is a record that seems destined to set the tongues of the metal underground wagging, and gain Árstíðir lífsins the kind of recognition that this, and their previous works deserve, as ‘Aldafǫðr Ok Munka Dróttinn’ is an absolutely stunning work of art that is well worth your time and attention.

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