Icelandic artiste Misþyrming demand both attention and respect; The collective resides resolutely in the shadowland of black metal yet, since the release of debut Söngvar elds og óreiðu has been courted by the mainstream as representative of a new strand of black metal thought. Unhurried by this attention, the band has elected to bide it’s time, coming to the fore again only when the material at it’s disposal has been deemed to surpass that which came before.
Remarkably, given that the first album was almost solely the work of founder member D.G., Algleymi, which features collaborative pieces composed by all members of the band, has an immediate feeling of coherence in excess of the first offering. Many black metal expositors feel more at one with music composed as solo work, yet the music exhibited here feels doubly impactful thanks to the full cohabitance of each instrument as an integral to the final result. Where once an icy solitude dwelt there now flourishes a more complete sound, giving a bedrock to far more melodic intent than was detectable before.
Hence the music must inevitably become more appealing to the audience at large; Ísland steingelda krummaskuð bears a memorable guitar motif and a vocal refrain more often found and deployed within the arena of Viking or Battle metal. Yet this simplicity weakens not the overall effect and, by design rather than fate acts as merely one facet of an ever-developing and progressive mindset. Similarly, the icy somnolence of Hælið is leavened by a mournful yet strangely fragile guitar line designed to stay in the memory of the listener where possibly before the composer might opt simply to bludgeon the senses. Misþyrming still retain that ability, of course, yet choose to reveal it’s presence more selectively on this release.
Accolytes of the artist in it’s original iteration will already be aware of the progressive nature of it’s musical progeny; for them the evident movement forward here will not present a problem as it can be assumed they are willing to ‘grow’ with the artistic impulse. Others of a more stoic nature may baulk at the more melodic bent displayed. But all will agree that Algleymi is without doubt the work of superior black metal intelligence.
Algleymi is out now.