Auðn pitch Vökudraumsins Fangi our way, an atmospheric black-metal opus mixing blast beats and furious guitars with incantations coming from the hollows of Nordic mountains. Avalanches plunging us into lethargy, or adventurous ascents of snowy summits? Have the band switched on their polar star, magnetically attracting a faithful troop of lovers of enduring darkness? With more polished production than Farvegir Fyrndar (2017), they make sure they do.
Any ascent is not without pain: tiny, icy droplets whipping the epidermis, strong wind forcing a squint, heaviness on the shoulders coming from the weight of this musical baggage? But the masters guide us in the darkness, vivid examples of the typically Icelandic solidarity, archetypes of that society’s warmth. Suddenly, we’re no longer alone in the world, in spite of the earth trembling beneath our feet and the flickering internal flame.
From the heights, we contemplate the flight of colourful birds, puffins traversing the sky, perhaps migrating. We also cross waddling guillemots, and eiders floating in the distance on quiet waves. Could we also see Viking boats in the distance, brandishing their red and white striped sails? Our eyes rest on the natural masterpieces that trace the almost lunar landscape; glaciers, icebergs and volcanoes; ice caves and white deserts; opalescent waterfalls and millennia-old blue waters… Auðn draw the contours of the North Seas with finesse, their ornate and delicate tracks a thing of fascination, chiselled from the purity of the Scandinavian air. Auðn’s icy tongues find their way close to our ears, be it with the melancholy “Birtan hugann brennir”, the powerful “Eldborg”, or the tragic “Horfin mér”.
Love at first sight is above all a question of timing. By releasing this album at the dawn of the first snows of year’s end, Auðn are aiming for the bull’s eye. Transfixed, trapped in the ice, our hands meet in a prayer: continue, masters, to utter this auditory violence speckled with a mystical drizzle.