|16th of December, 2022
|Norma Evangelium Diaboli
This one is maybe one of the most underappreciated Black Metal releases of 2022. Released around the holiday season where a lot of years ends lists had already been wrapped up, chances are Með Hamri just simply felt through the cracks for many Black Metal enthusiasts. But that should not take away from the fact that Með Hamri is simply one of the best most recent Black Metal releases.
Hailing from Iceland and being associated with respected acts such as Sinmara, Svartidaudi and Carpe Noctem, Misþyrming have been making a name for themselves since their formation in 2013 and releasing their debut Söngvar Elds Og Oreidu via Terratur Possessions / Fallen Empire in 2015. Heralded as one of the most important and interesting acts coming out of the Icelandic Black Metal scene, many fans have been anticipating the follow-up to its predecessor Algleymi ,which had a huge impact on the underground Black Metal scene upon its release in 2019. Fans were delighted by the sheer songwriting prowess of its dissonant but highly melodic and epic take on creating the classic Black Metal sound the Icelandic scene is known for.
Fast forward to 2022, Með Hamri is picking up right where Algleymi left off, but manages to separate itself by turning the screws of their songwriting spectrum in different directions. Opener and title Með Hamri demonstrates this perfectly with its extremely vicious and blast-driven approach, leaving you with no time to breathe and pummeling you with dissonant, thrashy riffs throughout its 6 minutes of run time. This barnburner of a song wouldn’t have been out of place on older Deathspell Omega releases and is the first curveball for listeners expecting Misþyrming to delve into a more accessible direction with this release. While there are still rather catchy and head bobbing inducing moments to be found throughout Með Hamri, Misþyrming always manage to keep their material dynamic and engaging. The following Með Hamri for example acts as the polar opposite to the opener and sounds downright uplifting at times, demonstrating the more melodic and anthemic side of their sound.
Standout track “Engin vorkunn” then combines the two preceding tracks into one mammoth of a song with ever-changing drum patterns, underlying horn sections and strong dissonant lead guitars, elevating itself into epic Black Metal grandiosity filled with icy atmosphere. This track is highly recommended for anyone interested in checking this release out since it represents the overall atmosphere and the album’s dynamics quite well.
Speaking of dynamics, the overall sound is enabling every single instrument to be appreciated while still keeping the genres typical rough edges, emphasizing the record’s abrasiveness. Individual performances are really strong too, with intricate drum patterns (especially during closer “Aftaka”) thoroughly unique guitar work and really strong vocals.
While the strong performances and songwriting chops are providing no real filler material throughout Með Hamri’s 43 min runtime, interlude “Blodhefnd” might be considered unnecessarily fat to be trimmed by some. But even this minor flaw can not take away from the maelstrom that Misþyrming unleash with their 3rd and most aggressive album to date. Surely to be appreciated by anyone who considers himself a Black Metal enthusiast. Concise, atmospheric and punishing, Með Hamri provides for an ever engaging listen leaving listeners excited for what is to come from these grim icelandic fellows.