We’re wasting no time digging into exciting new metal, again coming from Iceland, the current land of underground heavy metal dominance. It usually takes a little deeper into a new year to get a really great new band to start getting excited about, but we’re wasting no time.
Draugsól is a three-headed beast hailing from Iceland’s capital of Reykjavík, and they’re about to unleash their fantastic debut record “Volaða Land” that puts their own spin on black metal chaos. The band is fast to point out that, despite the melodies and sometimes huge sound, this is not “fun” or “party time” music. Not that most people would mistake most black metal for that, but once you dig into these six songs, you might have your spirits lifted. Instead, the music is centered in a world where trying to find meaning and enjoyment can be nearly impossible. Struggling to find happiness and clawing through hopelessness are themes on this record, and surely a lot of us can relate to those very things. Life can be impossibly bleak sometimes, and this band is making no bones about the fact that the struggle can drag you face-first over the mud. As the record goes on, being able to find one’s way and create one’s own path becomes paramount, and the listener can decide where he or she stands when the dust clears. It’s heavy content for a record that sometimes feels like it’s bursting with bright energy.
The title track starts the record with music flooding in and weird chants taking over, leading into chaotic wails and the music meandering in the dark. A wave of noise then leads toward 8:54-long “Formæling” that tears open into furious black metal boiling and the vocals creaking along. Punchy melodies lap beneath the surface, as power pulsates, and crunchy, beastly playing lays into your nervous system. The song then cascades gloriously, with the leads soaring, and a final burst putting an end to this awesome cut. “Bót Eður Viðsjá Við illu Aðkasti” grinds away and spills death gurgles into the mix, but then strangeness and heaviness collide as some traditional black metal pushes in and gets twisted up by prog crunch. The leads are fiery as the drums begin to bash away, giving way to a violent outburst that bleeds into clean playing. Out of that, the song erupts again, with riffs thundering, growls bruising, and a devastating storm hanging over you and refusing to leave.
“Spáfarir Og Útisetur” simmers in folkish acoustics, with gentle melodies trickling before unsettling fires begin to rage. Throaty growls scrape while the tempo pounds, and as the song keeps building, crazed cries strike, and the song flows away. “Váboðans Vals” also starts immersed in acoustics, but it’s not long until the track explodes and the tempo makes your blood surge. A dose of speed rips apart, leading into monstrous chaos, riffs that deliver body blows, and music that dissolves into the darkness. Closer “Holdleysa” starts heavy and oppressive before a fast assault lands, and creaky vocals and a strange noise vacuum overwhelms you. Tempos shift from there, leaving you guessing where things are going next, and then guitars light up and scorch you. During my most recent listen, there was a soaking rain shower going on outside, and it matched what was going on here perfectly, as the warbled singing and dizzying playing mix into the fog and disappear into the atmosphere.
Draugsól is the first eye-opening new band of the year, and it only took us into the first week of 2017 to find them.” Volaða Land” is a record that has a lot of heaviness lurking beneath its punishing music, and it’s meaty in both volume and content. This is a refreshing slab of black metal that’s getting this sub-genre’s year off on the right foot, and this is one that could power us through the entire year.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/draugsol
To buy the album, go here: http://www.signalrex.com/webstore/
Or here: https://draugsol.bandcamp.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.signalrex.com/