I’ve been looking for a recent black metal album to review as the first black metal album on this blog. I love the new Laster album but it just didn’t feel right picking something that could easily be classified as progressive metal or even post-metal as the first black metal album. Perhaps, I’ll review that one soon. No, I wanted something both of high quality but also of something more old school sounding.
Draugsól is one of the many Icelandic metal bands to gain some traction in the last few years. It makes sense that Iceland would be a hub for black metal since the name of the country is basically already a black metal band. Interestingly enough, it was actually Misþyrming’s recent album that got me interested in the more underground side of extreme metal. That album really shook me in a way that a lot music hadn’t yet. Up until that point, I had liked a lot of black metal but it had mostly been black metal that was related to other styles I already loved like symphonic black metal or progressive black metal or Bal Sagoth (power metal with a wee bit of screeching). That album showed me a whole new way of listening to metal. I’ll get into all of that later because its actually a topic I have a lot more to say about it. The point is: Iceland has some damn good music coming out of it.
If you liked Misþyrming and you want something exactly like it, you won’t find it here (look another waaaaay). Draugsól is a very different animal but an animal still worth trying to tame. If Misþyrming is a wild boar in a tornado, then Draugsól is a vulture gnawing on the remains of some roadkill. In other words, this band makes you admire its elegance while at the same time reminding you of your inevitable demise.
For a musical reference point, this new album shares a similar production quality to Mgła’s Exercises in Futility. It’s gritty and Burzum-esque but with more clarity like a thin layer of fog around the whole album. They also take influences from current atmospheric black metal as well so there is a tinge of uplifting triumph in some songs. You get pounding riffs, longing melodies, and some great artwork from Moonroot Art, what more could you want from a black metal album? I only wish I knew what the words meant.
Favorite Tracks: Track 3 and 5