Saturday, January 17, 2015

Auðn - Auðn

When it comes to Scandinavian metal, especially black metal, most people automatically think Norway. Although not technically part of Scandinavia, Iceland is starting to produce some good metal bands.  Auðn, an atmospheric black metal band is a new band that I discovered  while scanning Bandcamp and my life is much better because of it. They seem to remind me of Vinterbris as they are quite good at producing some great atmosphere without the use of keyboards or effects. Their debut self titled album is a blast of melody, aggression, and atmosphere that makes this band one to watch for because I predict big things for them.

The atmosphere of this album sets in immediately with the album opener "Klerkaveldi." Clean eerie sounding guitars set the mood then lead into some heavy riffs. This band doesn't seem to need to rely solely on blast beats because this is a mid paced song with loads of heaviness but also with plenty of melody that provides an eerie atmosphere. The English translation of this band's name is Desolation and that's the atmosphere they are pulling off. The vocals are a black metal rasp that's not too screechy but also add to the atmosphere they are trying to convey. "Sífreri" uses some blast beats and killer tremolo riffs in the beginning but slow it down in the middle with some softer clean guitars that build to some epic riffs to wind up the song. It's that type of atmosphere that makes you actually feel the cold and grimness of this album. Being from a cold and grim place this bands is a perfect representation of what Icelandic metal should be.

"Feigð" is just over five minutes long but shows the bands entire dynamic in this epic song. Clean guitars that display that cold and eerie atmosphere kick this song off as it builds to some blast beats and tremolo riffs while still having those beautiful melodies that gives this song such and epic feel. The middle of the song blasts faster with some awesome tremolo riffs that just add more to the epic atmosphere of this song. As I listen further to this album it is becoming more apparent that, although this may not be a concept album, this is an album that must be listened to in it's entirety rather than focusing on individual songs. This band seems to put all they have into each song making them more like compositions than songs. "Þjáning Heillar þjóðar" is another of those epic numbers that flow with all the beauty and all the aggression of the previous songs but with something extra that I just can't pin point to really go all out for the "goose bump" effect. Once a band gets me to that point, I'm hooked.

The album closes with the title track and they just go balls out epic on this one. Clocking in at close to nine minutes, this song just grabs you from the very star, holding nothing back. This is epic, this is aggressive, and this is absolutely beautiful. The melodic lead guitar that enters the song about a third of the way in is the icing on the cake. This band is capable of adding so many different elements into each song and that, to me, is a sign of great songwriting. My only complaint about this album is it's length. I feel like an album that is this epic should last a bit longer than thirty-six and a half minutes. If you enjoy epic, melodic black metal than this album is essential. It has all the ingredients of a classic. As I said, I am predicting big things for this talented band.


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