To celebrate their ten years, the icelandic band Auðn offers us a third full-length.
Entitled Vökudraumsins fangi, it is the outcome of three years of composition for Hjálmar Gylfason (guitar, ex-bass), Sigurður Kjartan Pálsson (drums), Aðalsteinn Magnússon (guitar/vocals), Andri Björn Birgisson (guitar) and Hjalti Sveinsson (vocals) as well as for Matthías Hlífar Mogensen (bass/guitar), the newcomer. Notice that Arnaldur Ingi Jónsson (organ) and Magnús Jóhann Ragnarsson (piano/mellotron) worked with them as guests.
Einn um alla tíð, the first song, slowly welcomes us in this universe. After a quiet introduction, blackness takes over the band’s riffs, and the vocalist begin to scream. The composition takes an entire new dimension, between melancholy, despair and suffering. The singer’s visceral howlings bully us while melodies mesmerize us, while the energetic and heavy Eldeborg catches us too. The song is different from the previous one, but we feel the same intensity, this violent sound that gets us to the guts and those vocals that comes over, adding a human dimension to ice-cold riffs. Same observation for Birtan hugann brennir, a dark and haunting song, with some piercing and airy harmonics that can slow down to offer beautiful calm parts. The introduction of Verður von að bráð pretends to be quiet, but it’s impossible not to guess that frenzy takes over musicians, giving us a heady but gloomy sound. Leads add this looming touch, just like on the impressive Drepsótt. The song plays on a moving rhythmic, but is still as interesting.
Once again, calmness reigns for the introduction of Næðir um thanks to guests, but this quietness progressively fades to let place to the tempest. We find a softer part which seems to be the heart of the storm, then riffs come back, and give way to Horfin mér. The band just need few moments to catch us once more with us in this sound avalanche, with however the atmospheric break in the middle, before coming back to pure blackness. The shrilling sound of Á himin stara wonderfully aggresses us, allowing the singer offering an unhealthy, frightening voice and to lead the dance. The instrumental part literally reacts to his howlings, just like on a gruesome theater play. Calmness appears again with the introduction of Ljóstýra, a song that is still sweet even when saturation reigns supreme within the sound. More forceful parts are integrated to this rhythmic, but the band keeps this quietness. Last song, Vökudraumsins fangi allows the band to conclude this transcending album with a song where the instrumental part dominates, but that lets the singer scream one last time his despair on our face at the end.
Since their very beginning, Auðn always offered an outstandingly intense Black Metal, and Vökudraumsins fangi won’t be an exception to the rule. The band is able to make us feel all the emotions while lacerating us with majestic riffs.