Söngvar elds og óreiðu is another new release (February, 2015) from the Icelandic label Vánagandr, who are quickly becoming legendary for putting out killer black metal tapes. The band this time is Misþyrming, normally operating as a two-piece of drummer Helgi and guitarist D.G. – the same D.G. who is one of the guys behind the Vánagandr label (and the one who will answer your emails and mail your tapes to you). Söngvar elds og óreiðu also came out on both red and black vinyl in super limited quantities, so limited in fact that basically all the distributors sold out immediately. I’m still kicking myself for not getting on that vinyl train, but I’m glad I was able to secure a copy of the cassette.
I’m going to have to start by giving a shout out to Helgi, because the drums on Söngvar elds og óreiðu come at you like Godzilla crushing Tokyo. He hits ’em heavy, and he hits ’em fast, like double jackhammers that want to break out of your woofers like that baby alien in Alien busting out of that dude’s stomach. Now, it’s not all super fast – Misþyrming know how to slow it down to a sludgy metal crawl at times, but event then there’s a lot of power on those drums. Helgi is a monster on the kit.
D.G. is not to be outdone, though. The vocals are growled and tortured, coming from a place deep in the recesses of his body to escape like an angry force from the other side. His guitar work shows a fair amount of versatility – slow and heavy, fast and shredding, and everything in between. I believe he also plays all the other instruments and music on the album as well, which would include the great atmospheric stuff that I find to be some of the most impressive work on the album.
Misþyrming isn’t a one-trick black metal pony. They have a range of sounds and textures throughout Söngvar elds og óreiðu. Yes, the growly, fast, and heavy numbers are here, but so is what is probably best described as an ambient black metal track in the impressive “Frostauðn,” which might be the best song on the album. The instrumental “Er haustið ber að garði” that opens side B is another fantastic effort, building as it does in a way that gives it a very “epic” feel, like something that could be the soundtrack to one of the Icelandic sagas before seamlessly leading in to the sonic assault of “Friðþæging blýþungra hjartna.” Outstanding.
At nine songs and roughly 43 minutes, this is a full length effort, and with a mixture of styles you definitely won’t find yourself growing tired of Söngvar elds og óreiðu. Like a lot of the other Icelandic black metal bands, Misþyrming is all about getting their music into your ears – you can listen to the whole thing for free HERE, and also “buy” the digital download. I put “buy” in quotes, because it’s name-your-price. And I mean c’mon, if you like it, why not send the guys a few bucks so they can keep making more music? Check out some of the songs I mentioned above, or “Ég byggði dyr í eyðimörkinni,” which I think is the most classically doom-black metal track. If you’re into some metal, you’ll find something you like on Söngvar elds og óreiðu.