Andavald - Undir Skyggðarhaldi review




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8.04
Band: Andavald
Album: Undir Skyggðarhaldi
Release date: June 2019


01. Forspil
02. Afvegaleiðsla
03. Hugklofnun
04. Undir Skyggðarhaldi
05. Eftirspil


The Mystískaos collective released three albums on the 6th of June, when they pretty much officially took over what was left of Fallen Empire Records. One was the eagerly awaited Wormlust/Skáphe collab, Kosmískur Hryllingur (review here). The other was an LP re-release of Délirant's self-titled debut (review here). More enigmatic than the ones named so far were Icelandic group Andavald, whose Undir Skyggðarhaldi is the toughest listen of the bunch.

So, here we have another Icelandic black metal band, like we didn't have enough of those already. But what surprised me about Andavald is that despite being formed in 2011, they only just now released any music. And not only that but a lot of their members don't seem to have been part of any big Icelandic band in a scene pretty much known for its incestuous sharing of members. Yes, vocalist Axel Franz Jóhannsson was in Draugsól, and he and some other member were/are in Naught and Mannveira, but neither of those latter two released any full lengths. So they're a bit of an oddity among the Icelandic scene, as well as being an oddity among their Mystískaos label mates.

I think out of what we've heard from the big Icelandic and the Mystískaos bands, neither of them I could really call DSBM. I wouldn't call Andavald really DSBM either, but they get pretty fucking close. Bookended by an intro and an outro that really set an uneasy atmosphere, the album is comprised by three mid-paced 10-minutes long behemoths. I guess it goes without saying that building atmosphere is one of the main aspects of the album, with its very patient riffs that feel like they never end, giving a dreadful sense of continuous suffering. But obviously, the suffering isn't felt foremost in the riffs.

The vocals are the driving force of Undir Skyggðarhaldi. While the music does evoke dread, the vocals feel almost inhuman in their sadistic expression of their own suffering, almost in delight of it. Laughter, cries and screams should not be unexpected, but they only come once enough dread has been built up, in an almost inviting way. There's obviously a slight sense of melodrama in the whole thing, but each track feels like it conveys its suffering in its unique way, so it doesn't feel like there's too much of anything at once.

I'm sure there's way tougher DSBM out there, hence why I was reluctant to call Undir Skyggðarhaldi as such, but it's been a while since I heard a black metal album with such a crushing sense of dread that evokes suffering in a fairly unique way.



 



Written on 23.06.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 61 users
23.06.2019 - 19:22
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Hell of an atmosphere on this one. And yes, more metal bands ought to use purple in their album covers.
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Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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23.06.2019 - 20:16
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Apothecary on 23.06.2019 at 19:22

Hell of an atmosphere on this one. And yes, more metal bands ought to use purple in their album covers.

Great color scheme indeed
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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23.06.2019 - 21:08
nikarg
Old Nick
Nice review man. Most of the Icelandic stuff doesn't do it for me but everything in this album is exceptional; the cover art, the atmosphere, the vocals, the riffs. It's now sharing the top spot with Aoratos for bm releases this year on my list.
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23.06.2019 - 21:08
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 23.06.2019 at 21:08

Nice review man. Most of the Icelandic stuff doesn't do it for me but everything in this album is exceptional; the cover art, the atmosphere, the vocals, the riffs. It's now sharing the top spot with Aoratos for bm releases this year on my list.

That's a pretty high standard
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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