Norway might lead the charge when it comes to black metal alongside the rest of the Scandinavian countries. But travel across the sea, north-west of Scandinavia and you come to another icy land known for breeding bands similarly shaped by the prolonged days of darkness and the bitter winters.
Iceland has brought us post-rock bands like Sigur Ros, Stafrænn Hákon and Múm inspired by the barren but beautiful lands of spitting hot springs and vast fjords. But this Icelandic duo bring us what is self-dubbed as ‘atmospheric/post-black metal’. For Dynfari, there are equal shades of depressive doom and a good measure of Drudkh and Alcest worship, which can’t be a bad thing. The two-piece have recently landed a deal with Code666, which means there’s surely only one way for them and that’s ‘up’.
For what Dynfari do, the creativity is there but the conviction could be better. If they tightened a few screws in their transitions and tweaked some things behind the mixing desk and in final production, they might make their inventive, melodic blackened verses stand out more. The 15-minute Second track ‘Hjartmyrkvi’ contains their most blackened work, but also has a beautiful section of tuneful guitar work over the top of a blasting passage at the midway point in the song that could do with that extra attention in the production process. However, when Dynfari get it right, they give us some amazing flashes of what they’re capable of. ‘Sem Skugginn I’ and ‘II’ are the two-piece’s strongest triumphs on record. Both are atmospheric, depressive and laced with cold post-black riffage.
As this lengthy second album comes to a close, it’s clear that if they continue with similar ambition, we could have something spectacular on our hands next time round. They’re not the type of band that will thrive on more lo-fi production – there are too many intricacies, ideas and melodies for that. ‘Sem Skugginn’ is a promising second album and hopefully a milestone testament to the beginning of a new dawn for Dynfari.
Sem Skugginn is out now on Code666.
You’ll like this if… you have patience to wait for your much-desired blasts of black and doom because it’s all part of the bitter struggle through the bleak winter months.