Atmospheric Black Metal
Dynfari are a relatively new band from Iceland, formed back in 2010. Yet Sem Skugginn is the band’s second full length album in the same number of years, displaying the hardworking nature of the band members, and is a nice presentation of the bleak and harsh visions that plague the minds of the band members.
There is an almost depressive/suicidal black metal feel as the album opens with Glötun, with the sounds of a conversation happening against a haunting backdrop of organs, and as the track progressed things started to get even darker and more hopeless, as doom-paced guitar riffs soon greet the listener. And things like this make Sem Skugginn feel almost like a funeral march that never ends with the crushing guitars and the heavy percussions, and that sorrowful and mournful atmosphere that drenches the listener from the start of Sem Skugginn till the end. Each of the instruments are utilised fully and effectively by the band to create the suitable mood for each segment of the album, a nice display of versatility of the duo behind Dynfari.
The long runtime of the album meant that the band has plenty of time to build up this feeling of despair and desolation in the listener, and not a single moment of the album exceeding 1 hour is wasted in achieving this goal. Despite the album being mostly an instrumental affair, the band constantly proves to the listener that there is no need to waste words as the melodies on the album is more than sufficient in bringing the band’s emotions across to the listener, and in dictating the emotions of the listener at the same time. Furthermore, the band also constantly pulls surprises on the listener. For example, despite the rather slow opening track, Hjartmyrkv throws the listener off guard with the sudden change of pace, with the band displaying its aggression in its full glory, yet as suddenly as the moment of rage surfaced, everything subsided into a sea of calmness.
That said though, this being a largely instrumental release, there are also some slight gripes in terms of the playing on some portions of the album, in particular the faster moments. While the band has proven themselves to be more than capable in creating and maintaining a heavy and broody atmosphere throughout, on faster moments on the album such as on Hjartmyrkv, the band displayed some slight sloppiness, affecting the enjoyment of these more aggressive moments somewhat.
Despite so, while Sem Skugginn is just Dynfari‘s second full length release, the well-written material on the album make the band sound like veterans in this particular style of music. Sem Skugginn promises a rewarding, emotional roller-coaster ride for those who have the initiative and the patience to get through the entire journey.