(Andy Synn bathes in the pyroclastic flow of the debut album from Iceland’s Altari)
I promise you, at some point I’ll write about something a little more… normal.
Maybe some stupid, stompy Death Metal or some chunky, chuggy Hardcore. How does that sound?
But, for whatever reason, there’s been so many brilliantly weird and wonderful albums released over the last few months – especially on the Black Metal side of things – which I’ve felt compelled to write about that you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re in the middle of some sort of renaissance in the field of Avant-Garde extremity (and maybe we are!).
And, providing yet more evidence for this, may I present the debut album from Icelandic iconoclasts Altari.
Right from the first jazzy drum roll of the opening title-track you can tell that Kröflueldar isn’t your typical Black Metal album.
With its slinky rhythms and simmering atmospherics, it doesn’t so much erupt out of the speakers – though it certainly has its explosive moments – as it does bleed from them, slowly filling the air with an ever-present aura of eerie melody and gloomy vibes which have as much in common with Prog Rock and Post-Punk as they do Black Metal.
And while there’s still a recognisably Icelandic edge to their sound (especially in the darkest, harshest corners of tracks like “Djáknahrollur” and “Hin eina sanna”), Altari are undoubtedly outliers when it comes to their national sound/scene, sharing a closer kinship with the likes of Grey Aura, Oranssi Pazuzu, and Black Hole Generator (the latter especially) than with their colder and more aggressive cousins in Misþyrming, Sinmara, etc.
Given all the obvious care and attention to detail which the band have clearly lavished on every song – from the brooding grooves of “Leðurblökufjandinn” and the haunting, hallucinatory “Sýrulúður” through to the devilish, Dødsengel-esque “Vítisvilltur” and the album’s sinister, slow-burning finale, “Grafarþögn” – it perhaps shouldn’t be that surprising to learn that Kröflueldar was nine ling years in the making.
But there’s no question in my mind that this was all time well spent, as this is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating debut albums of the year so far, and one which continues to reward the listener more and more with each and every spin.
TANKS, ANDY !
This is SOOOO GOOOOD !
Got a certain Melvins vibe from these guys!
This has a vibe from Joy Division.