Dynfari - Sem Skugginn
Code666 Records
Black Metal/Progressive/Ambient
9 songs (01:14:12)
Release year: 2012
Code666 Records
Reviewed by Charles
Dynfari are a young band from Iceland, who have released a limited but certainly promising second album. The influence of their celebrated compatriots Sólstafir is strongly detectable here- one of them is even wearing their logo on a hoodie in their Metal Archives picture. As that might suggests, here we have an extremely ambitious release, peppered with very lengthy songs, encompassing wild swings between expansive stretches of melancholy ambiance and aggressive black metal. It can be impressive at times, but I must the main thing I felt listening to this record was excitement at how the band might sound with a bit more polish, rather than how they actually sound now.

The record opens in an intriguing manner; Glötun is an eerily effective stretch of Nortt-evoking funeral doom, laden with some supremely sinister samples. Interest duly piqued. This gives way into Hjartmyrkvi, however, where the limitations become somewhat more apparent. At fifteen minutes long, it’s tracks like these that are to blame for the album’s somewhat undisciplined running time (75 minutes). The song veers from pensive ambient ideas, to shrieking synth-laden black metal, to clean vocal-led post-rock passages that remind me strongly of Skagos. It feels like a somewhat meandering train of thought- not necessarily a problem, if you are happy to lose yourself in the flow. What is a bigger limitation is an overall lack of polish; rather like the Epitimia record I reviewed last week, the band’s instrumental delivery sometimes lacks finesse and power, which is particularly an issue on the faster, harsher sections.

That largely encapsulates the album as a whole. Overall, Sem Skugginn has an eclectic, curious demeanour, which I like. As with Solstafir, of course, there are ideas taken from alt. rock, prog, as well as more classical black metal reference points, and they are generally blended together without upsetting the generally melancholic tone. Overall it’s the sound of a band in a germinal stage. Stronger musicianship and compositional discipline could turn Dynfari into something well-worth hearing in future. That’s exactly what I’d say now looking back at Sólstafir’s Masterpiece of Bitterness, so perhaps they have a comparably bright future.

Killing Songs :
Charles quoted 68 / 100
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