giovedì 12 gennaio 2017

Draugsól - "Volaða Land" (Signal Rex Productions, 2017)

Band: Draugsól
Title: Volaða Land
Genre: Black metal
Year: 2017
Time: 37 min
Rating: 91/100

Iceland is something miracolous! In fact, it is relatively isolated from the rest of Europe and has mostly uninhabited due to its very strong volcanic activity, so this insular Nation is comprised only of 321.000 inhabitants circa. Despite of all this, the Icelandic National football team, during the 2016’s Europeans Cup, reached the quarter finals after playing very well against great teams. And don’t forget that Iceland has even a good popular music tradition since the success of the dark post-punkers KUKL in the early ‘80s. But do you know that one of the first proto-black metal bands was Icelandic? Oh yeah, guys, I’m talking about the mysterious Flames of Hell, a trio maker of the legendary “Fire and Steel” (1987), an album of a visionary black metal like few others characterized by a totally demented singer.

Fortunately, the Icelandic black metal has not stood to those 3 madmen because it has gone even further creating also music of an excellent quality, as shown today by a band like Draugsól. This band comes from the capital city Reykjavík but, to speak the truth, any biographic information about these 3 guys is unknown. Anyway, their debut album “Volaða Land” will be released on vinyl by Signal Rex Productions (an excellent Portuguese black metal label a bit experimental) around 13th January 2017. Said frankly, the metallic 2017 has started with the better fireworks!

“Volaða Land” is an album consisted of only 6 tracks, 3 of them lasts 7 – 8 minutes but expressing, in any case, a surprising richness of ideas. This because Draugsól plays a very complex and multiform black metal with an almost progressive modus operandi but, at the same time, with a sound strongly derived from the ‘90s Scandinavian black metal.

I said “multiform” for a precise reason: Draugsól have the rare capacity to range from furious and tempestuous parts to incredibly emotive and melodic ones. This miracle happens especially into “Bót Eður Viðsjá Við illu Aðkasti”, a track that, after an initial half-death metal oriented assault, ends in a slow and atmospheric finale developed around a more and more potent climax.
The same guitars’ job is very exemplified about the “multiformity” of the band. Specifically, the riffs, according to need, can be freezing, majestic or so evocative to leave seriously the minds’ listeners into naturalistic landscapes . At the same time, some good solos, very very far from the minimalistic ones typical of the orthodox black metal, emerges here and there during the listening, like in “Formæling”. This without forgetting the good contribution given by the acoustic guitars, especially during the intros (as in the folk one of “Spáfarir Og Utisetur”) but also integrating them sometimes into the metal parts (for example, in “Holdleysa”).

Others interesting points comes from the drummer, that has a very particular style. In fact, he is always in search of strange and unusual patterns that sometimes have even a jazzy-edge, according to a nervous and unpredictable discourse not lack of a bunch of blast-beats able to hit the listeners in a brutal way.
The result of all this is an album made of tracks that are very different from each one. My favorite song is surely the aforementioned “Spáfarir Og Utisetur”, a memorable kind of mid-tempo destined to explode in a devastating way with a singer in full torment and despairation. But, truly, every song is remarkable: to name a few, “Váboðans Vals” with its ultra-violent accelerations (listen to its acoustic intro interrupted abruptly!); or the same titletrack, a kind of 2-minutes’ intro with a noisy and hypnotic edge. A bit less effective due to its sketchy structure is the conclusive “Holdleysa”, anyway mentionable for its evocative finale characterized also by mantric clean vocals.
To end this endless review, “Volaða Land” is a very good debut album that has everything due to an unpredictable, majestic and kaleidoscopic black metal able even to thrill the listeners, and this one is a thing very difficult to find into the today black metal scene. There is need to say that this strong emotive impact is due also to the lyrical concept of the album: in fact, it is focused not on the ultra-abused Satanic themes but, instead, on the man’s struggle between to be architect of his own fate or to be a futile sentient existence into an hostile and demented world now empty of every certainty. Now confess: do you want to be the architects of your own fate?
1 – Volaða Land
2 – Formæling
3 - Bót Eður Viðsjá Við illu Aðkasti
4 – Spáfarir Og Utisetur
5 – Váboðans Vals
6 – Holdleysa


Signal Rex Productions:

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