Árstíðir Lífsins – Þættir úr sǫgu norðrs

We made the acquaintance of this excellent band in 2012 on the occasion of the split album Fragments: A Mythological Excavation with Helrunar. After some time without news and with a line-up reduced to a trio, which sees the Germans Stefán (Kerbenok) and Marsél (Helrunar) and the Icelandic Árni (Dysthymia), after the exit of a historical member such as Georg, the interesting combo comes back with this mini CD that draws inspiration from two different Icelandic poems dating back to the tenth century. As you can easily guess, the black Árstíðir Lífsins has a marked epic trait and certainly the use of texts sung in the ancient Icelandic idiom accentuates this feature. At the same time, the German component of the line-up undoubtedly characterizes the sound of the band in its own way, giving it a particular aura of icy solemnity. The first two tracks are in fact contiguous as well as inspired by the same poem, while the third track is completely different, very theatrical and characterized by choral and symphonic parts, certainly far from any extreme nuance. The work is quite short, a little more than 25 minutes, but it’s out of discussion that the initial couple constitutes something that cannot be listened to every day for intensity and emotional involvement (even if on slightly different stylistic levels, we are very close to the best Lunar Aurora), while Hrafns þáttr réttláta is a song for initiates that definitely goes beyond the context introduced by the two parts of Þórsdrápa. What strikes most in Þættir úr sǫgu norðrs is the depth of the music proposed, capable of reproducing with rare effectiveness the ancestral character of poems composed in ages so far from ours. For a band that is now a guarantee of high quality a wonderful test, able to soothe the wait for a new album that, hopefully, will not wait too long.

2014 – Ván Records