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Good, but more post-rock than metal - 80%

raoulduke25, August 22nd, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Code666 Records (Digipak)

With the recent glut of atmospheric black metal bands that have come out in the last few years, I feel like there’s a bit of a saturation effect going on here. I do enjoy listening to the genre, but for whatever reason I get the feeling that it’s an “easy” genre in that any time the composition can take a back seat to atmosphere and reverb, that there are likely going to be corners cut and shortcuts taken. Now whether Dynfari are guilty of that or not I won’t say, but I feel like that sort of preface is important when reviewing any album of this genre.

This is Dynfari’s third full-length album and it stands almost indistinguishably in a long line of minimalist Icelandic releases. If you are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, get ready for acoustic arpeggios and washed out tremolo riffs plastered on a landscape of slow percussion. That doesn’t really sound like black metal, does it? You’re right, it doesn’t. This isn’t a knock on the quality of the music, but for those of you who like your black metal to be black, well, there isn’t much to see here besides two or three individual tracks.

There are songs that have all the textbook marks of black metal, but in the end the album sounds more like a post-rock project with harsh vocals and the occasional few bars of blast beats. I could easily give this album to a friend who doesn’t like metal at all and I’m sure he would mostly like it. It’s basically so accessible that all the things you have grown to love and expect in black metal are conspicuously absent. And all of the things that generally only appear occasionally in black metal are prevalent here. There are long sections of clean, acoustic instruments along with clean vocals that slowly build into something that kind of sounds like metal but is remarkably tame.

However, I feel that it would be unfair to characterise this project as a bad one. It isn’t. The use of dynamics, suspense, contour, and climax are all strong here, and skilfully used. The vocals – which range all the way from straight-up clean singing to whispered growls to full on death growls – are fantastic and match the mood of the album flawlessly. This album will no doubt get repeated plays from me; it’s good. But it’s Mogwai good and not Inquisition good.

Originally written for fetiddead.wordpress.com.

Artful, Philosophical And Enlightening - 81%

PassiveMetalhead, April 25th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Code666 Records (Digipak)

“A journey of time”: it seems like the perfect statement to describe Dynfari’s third album, Vegferð Tímans. Like their Icelandic metal counterparts Sólstafir, Dynfari’s music has a natural baptism to express emotional splendor whilst still fixed to their black metal roots. Atmosphere and emotion are what they call upon to dive into the shimmering pool of heartfelt power that bands like Fen and Winterfylleth can come close to touching and with Vegferð Tímans they prove that they are undeniably submerged in it.

Dynfari establish a fusion of tentative acoustics and raucous rage throughout the duration of Vegferð Tímans. This is most effective in Sandkor- í stundaglasi tímans (Sand in the hourglass of time) whereby Jóhann Örn’s screeches and howls can be heard from over distant borderlands yet the soothing acoustics resound through the skies which rather ironically lead to a storm that begins Hafsjór (Wealth). It’s another example where the duo reaches out to the more subdued lands of black metal yet still hearkens to their roots. As the storm crashes some radiant vocals cap a surprisingly mid paced groove. The power Dynfari holds to their name is being able to keep their music sounding graceful through the constant changes in rhythm and tone. The song becomes more intense and pounding yet the blissful guitars glisten smoothly in front of a soundscape of thunderous drums.

Hafsjór proves to be the album turn-around in emotional direction for Vegferð Tímans. The intro track does set the albums tone well however it lacks the sort of emotion that the final 4 songs seem to drip with. It’s the same effect for Óreiða (Entropy): The frequent changes in rhythmic direction are impressive yet take away the intended passion behind the subdued vocals. Perhaps the mystifying music would prove more effective if the vocals where more centralized. Its’ not until the double pace kicks in that rhythm is fully established where the glittering guitars shine against the yawning bass throughout the song.

Nature’s arms cradle you through the voyage of the trilogy, Vegferð (Journey), in an eclipse of mesmerizing ecstasy. Three songs sowed together in a 33 minute composition by a single poem to bring the listener to a diverse view of existence itself. The voyage leads you through a slow lull of contained wrath in Ad Terra (Earth). Gales of whispers and thunderous beats build up to a certain feeling of comfort whereby beauty and simplicity is echoed before the hammer of Dynfari meets the black metal anvil in a fuming cacophony of sound. Ad Astra (Stars) breaks the momentum with pure elegance. Glimpses of female vocals add to the passion and you feel yourself elevated by the song. And finally into the darkness of the cosmos comes Ad Myrkrið (Darkness). As the journey comes to an end you feel your heart beat in rhythm in an attempt to become one with nature. All the sounds of hypnotizing chants to icy screams and the lamenting acoustics to pounding riffs come together as if the elements themselves gather a great congregation of unity and understanding.

Vegferð Tímans - 84%

Daemonlord, March 23rd, 2015

"‘Vegferð Tímans’ (‘Journey of Time’ in English) is the third full length album from this Icelandic atmospheric black metal duo, and a mighty release it is too. Yes folks, its atmospheric black metal time. Time to turn off the central heating; allow the fog to roll in through your windows. Invite the flora and fauna into your abode and to light a fire where your TV once stood. Become one with nature by staring wistfully into the flames for the album’s runtime, because it’s a prerequisite for maximum enjoyment of Dynfari. Failing that, just stick some headphones in and enjoy getting whisked away by the musical beauty which befalls your ears upon hitting ‘play’.

Dynfari create such vast soundscapes, it’s hard not to imagine all the above things happening. This is far from evil and frostbitten in terms of black metal, but it has a definite chill to it. It’s as dreamy as a pale winter sky after a terrible storm, as desolate as the most weather-beaten barren landscapes of Scandinavia, as refreshing as an untouched cold lake to an unquenched thirst and is absolutely dripping with melancholy throughout the albums runtime. It’s hard to pick apart the tracks as individual pieces, because the album as a whole demands to be heard as a whole – and when it is, it pays off with the most fulfilling rewards. I’d love their fellow countrymen Sólstafir to return to sounds such as this, as they used to boss this style so well too. Whether it be the pensive acoustic guitars and the soft female vocals of ‘Vegferd II – Ad Astra’, or the eerie storm of ‘Hafsjor’, which creeps and dwells in the shadows, or the brilliant and brooding ‘Óreiða’ – it all combines into one magnificent opus of atmospheric purity which is screaming to be played and played again.

Fans of Austere, Nyktalgia, Alcest or Drudkh will most certainly get a kick out of Dynfari’s schtick, and understandably so considering they stand tall amongst their peers through the sheer atmospheric accomplishment they achieve with ‘Vegferð Tímans’. The mind’s eye will be sent into paroxysms, with landscapes, natural beauty, space, time and everything in between being plucked from your imagination and nestled amongst the musical accompaniment they provide. Top, top stuff. Time for me to investigate their back catalogue!

Originally written for www.avenoctum.com

Journey Of Time - 80%

diogoferreira, March 16th, 2015

With five years of career, the Icelandic metallers Dynfari are releasing the beautiful third full-length “Vegferð Tímans” – that means ‘journey of time’ – via Code666 Records. Dynfari are not a band that makes us suddenly discern what they play… If the first track, “Ljósið” (working as an intro), wanders between rock-oriented compact riffs and dissonant loose notes, the second one, “Óreiða”, takes us into a more depressive and melancholic atmospheric metal that starts to be slow, but then bursts into a repressive and sad fury worthy of the most modern black metal.

There are also incursions concerning the post-metal scene – with black metal as its base – in which are applied semi-acoustic passages contrasting the heavier, yet sometimes slower, soundscapes. In addition, the Icelandic language gives great emphasis to this whole musical process – even if it’s melodious, coldness is felt. On the other hand, there are the ritualistic and traditional intonations delivered by the vocals in “Hafsjór”. It’s a track that shows a nice and transparent evolution that goes from the obscurer post-metal to celestial soundscapes reminding of Alcest during the “Les Voyages de l’Âme” phase. Dynfari’s sound capacity is also able to create high and gelid landscapes in our minds like in “Vegferð I – Ab Terra”, a track that even reaches glimpses of funeral doom metal.

In spite of the melody that can be heard, I don’t really point this record as an entirely melodic one if you are used to the atmospheric metal in that sound wave. This new album is clearly apocalyptic with some scratches of distorted harmony that’s offered by the strong guitars. Having in count what I’ve previously mentioned about the second song, we have to wait until the last track, “Vegferð III – Myrkrið”, to witness once again an avalanche of sounds that enlighten us and that’s worthy of comparison with bands that have brought up the atmospheric (black) metal in a more depressive and/or nostalgic vein with ancestral and spiritual details.

Originally written at www.againstmagazine.com