Revisiting and revitalising old school Norwegian black metal, Daumyra the new album from Oslo duo Isvind takes the senses and thoughts on a corrosive and exhausting ride through the darkest insidious shadows and coldest blistering realms. It is a release which sparks and captures the imagination, and though arguably it is not trespassing on new adventures it undoubtedly gives existing avenues a fresh and intensive examination.
Formed as a trio back in 1993 under the name Icewind, the band drew attention with its first two demos, The Call of The Icewind and Herskerinnen, the second release under the changed name of Isvind and down to the pair of Arak Draconiiz (guitars, bass, vocals) and Goblin (drums, vocals, keyboards). This was followed two years later in 1996 by debut album Dark Waters Stir, again on Solistitum Records. Apart from the release of a split with Italian band Orchrist in 2003 and another demo the following year, the band lay in the shadows for many years before returning with the album Inent Lever in 2011. The release saw the band still immersed and inspired by the early sound of the genre and earning strong responses, something the equally soaked in black metal seeding Daumyra is sure to emulate. The eight track Folter Records released album again does not deviate from the core sound and enthralling presence of the band which evolved in the early days but still manages to offer an inventive breath which feeds the hungry appetites of the modern flavoured fan.
Opener Kast Loss emerges from a blaze of harsh ambience and teasing fire, its wind a cold harshness stoking up atmosphere and chilling waves within its scenery from which the track bursts with riffs and rhythms assassinating the remaining air with a carnivorous intent. Lurking within there is an addiction causing groove and heavy metal swipes which colour the dark rasping serpentine tones of the vocals and sonic temptation. The guitars niggle and graze from the first second of the song’s full expulsion, making an unrelenting provocation as intimidating as it is compelling and inviting.
It is a very strong start matched by the following Burn The Kings, the track again merciless in its grinding surge through the ear. There is a kinship between the first two songs; a similarity which binds their combined potency into a pleasing tool, and though they share individualism compared to other songs it only goes to reinforce the impact of the album’s entrance.
The thunderous Blodstorm raises the game before handing over to the pinnacle of the album The Dark Traverse. The first of the pair tears synapses with a sonic flame rich in alluring repetition and bewitching rapaciousness, whilst the drums cage its ferociousness in a steel clad mesh of continually shifting and intensifying confrontation. It is a provocative fury loaded with malevolent caustic vocals and their bestial narrative, and another slice of toxic bait hard to resist. That enthralling poison only intensifies with its successor, the track immediately snatching the senses into its savage claws of sound and energy. A tempest of crucial riffing, rhythmic predation, and riot of grooves, the song is a breath-taking avalanche of sonic majesty, the deeper into its jaws you are sucked the bigger and more immense it grows. Pure blackened evil and skilled maliciousness the track is a destructive tour de force of the album.
Both Djevelens Lende and Myra unleash a thick and suffocating blizzard of sonic, predatory, and rancorous austerity, their touch and presence, biting cold yet inflammatory, grave but contagious. Against their predecessor the tracks trail in its wake but nevertheless leave a touch which instils claws in thoughts and emotions.
Completed by the excellent Specculum, its initial rhythmic stomp and riffs charge changing gear into a primal examination of itself and the senses, and the callously unyielding Klabautermann, the album is a thoroughly satisfying and rousing encounter. Daumyra may not be the most original release to come your way, even compared to Isvind’s earlier work, but it does leave hunger and wants full and ready for more.
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