Auðn is an atmospheric black metal band from Iceland. Maybe it’s the culture or the climate or the volcanoes, but currently Iceland is one of the most interesting countries in the black metal scene. After an exciting first release in 2014 and an excellent second release in 2017 (“Farvegir fyrndar”) which confirmed all expectations, Auðn returned in 2020 with the release of “Vökudraumsins fangi”.
The first song, “Einn um alla tíð”, starts with an acoustic guitar as a short introduction but quickly turns into a furious guitar ride where Auðn ‘s characteristic guitar tremolos and Hjalti Sveinsson’s harsh vocals reign. The whole album is a roller coaster of sensations, with very fast moments interspersed with mid-tempo atmospheric moments – as if in one moment we were rushing down a mountain, and another moment slowly climbing it. We can almost feel the cold of the Icelandic mountains through the guitar melodies and the vocalist’s howls.
The highlight goes to the 8-minute opening song that introduces and defines the rest of the album that follows; to “Birtan hugann brennir” which starts slowly, bringing a more doom metal style to it with particular emphasis on the drum cymbals; to “Næðir um” evolves from measured and rhythmic drums, as if announcing the beginning of a battle – a battle against the cold, the darkness or the isolation, maybe – towards devastating guitars as if the battle had begun; to the closing and album title track “Vökudraumsins fangi”, a very melodic song which is perfect to finish the album – like a ray of light in the middle of all the maelstrom and all the darkness projected on the album.
The production of Stephen Lockhart and the mastering of Jens Bogren were both excellently executed – Very sober, with all the instruments sound well defined, bass included. Under the seal of Season of Mist, the Icelandic Auðn continues the journey started 10 years ago, releasing another safe and excellent quality album.