Hamferð – Evst

Until now, musically speaking, the Faroe Islands had left a tangible trace in the metal sphere mainly thanks to Týr, whose popularity has been consolidated in the last decade thanks to solid folk metal. Quite different is what is proposed by Hamferð who, from the small Thorshavn, capital of the archipelago, enchant us with a death doom capable of standing out over the competition thanks to several innovative elements while in no way distorting the coordinates of the genre. Right from the opener Evst (which is also the title of the album) we can see that the band opts for a vocal style at the antipodes of the habits of more traditional death doom: here the usual growl is flanked by a voice as stentorian as it is evocative, all given to us magnificently by Jón Aldará alone. Those who had a chance to listen to HellLight’s last record could not help but notice how much the overall performance of an excellent work was penalized by the attempt to use clean vocals without possessing a sufficiently solid technique; this does not happen at all in Evst, where Jón’s voice stands out as the undisputed protagonist of the work, declaiming with the right emphasis and the necessary transport the lyrics strictly written in his mother tongue. If in the first three tracks, which moreover shine for Hamferð‘s ability to make airy a normally oppressive musical matter, the imprint of Swallow The Sun is rather evident, in the course of the album a folk prog vein also emerges, leading ours to the composition of a mostly acoustic track like At Jarða Tey Elskaðu. Sinnisloysi takes us back to atmospheres steeped in despair, with a predominance of growl over clean vocals that is deceptive, however, given the Faroerians’ ability to impart unexpected turns to a songwriting that is decidedly more varied than other bands engaged in the field: specifically, a female voice peeps out, lending a certain solemnity to the sound, with the addition of impeccable guitar work of great sensitivity. After more than half an hour of music with great intensity, the concluding Ytst comes to confirm even to the most skeptical that Hamferð are certainly not the classic band capable of getting those three or four chords right on which to build an entire record: this track represents the state of the art of doom death, with a kaleidoscope of sensations capable of overlapping over the course of ten munits of rare emotional impact, and it is fitting that the tombstone on a wonderful record should be placed by the voice of this singer capable like few others of vibrating the strings of the soul. Evst ranks absolutely among the best releases of 2013, and for those who are enraptured by it, I highly recommend going back and dredging up the equally good debut ep Vilst Er Síðsta Fet.

2013 – Tutl Records