For some reason, whenever bands from Iceland are mentioned, particularly black metal bands, I immediately associate them with a cold, atmospheric soundscape. Of course, this has probably got to do with the climate of the region, but also due to bands like Sólstafir, or more popularly, Sigur Rós. Unlike the apparently recent increasing popularity of dissonant black metal bands of the region, the art that Auðn peddles would lean more closely to the atmospheric end of the spectrum.
Farvegir Fryndar is the sophomore album of Auðn, and after the excellent self-titled debut in 2014, there is little doubt about the level of musicianship of the band. Right from album opener Verold Hulin, one is put into a melancholic, though on some levels, rather beautiful soundscape. It’s a cold, but not overly freezing à la Immortal/Abbath cold, atmosphere that one is left in. Fans of the works of Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone, or the recent Wolves in the Throne Room would immediately feel comfortably at home.
The riffs dished out by guitarists Magnússon and Birgisson have a rather bleak quality to them, often topped by the desperate shrieks of Sveinsson, further emphasising the sense of hopelessness for the listener. Yet through all the negativity, and the desolation, Auðn ensures that there is still that beautiful aesthetic that is maintained throughout. The superb songwriting on Farvegir Fyrndar makes it such that it isn’t difficult to become completely immersed. The clever interweaving of acoustic moments into their songwriting like on Ljosaslaedur and Eilifar Naetur are reminiscent of Fen, and these definitely got the fanboy in me excited (though excited should hardly be a suitable descriptor for such an album).
The soundstage presented on the album is huge, and it is hard not to become captivated by the breathtaking atmosphere on the album. While it is easy to get hypnotised and lose oneself on warmer cans or earphones, on more clinical, analytical earphones, I found Auðn to be a much less enjoyable listen, losing the warmth of the production, and emphasising the rawness and rougher edges that are inevitable for such extreme genres.
The last album that got me coming back for more was Fen‘s recent masterpiece, Winter, yet I have found myself constantly returning for more of Farvegir Fyrndar in recent weeks. Auðn‘s sophomore is a hugely addictive album, and while it may take another 3 year wait for them to drop any new material, Farvegir Fyrndar would be more than sufficient to keep us busy till then.
Favourite tracks: Ljosaslaedur, Eilifar Naetur