Not very often does an album not only convey a certain emotion, but make you feel that emotion deep down. Icelandic band Audn have managed to do that, and in a way that feels organic, like the music was written by the artists’ emotions themselves. The drums of “Veröld Hulin” start this one off. Then come the melancholic guitars, giving the sadness an embodiment, along with the haunted growls that populate this album. One thing to note early on is the production, which compliments the music very well, giving it a depressive feel that goes along with this music. While it’s not entirely depressive black metal, it’s atmospheric black metal, and that atmosphere is one of loss and sadness. “Lìfvana Jörd” is next, and begins to pick up the pace a little bit, while adding a lot of melody to the guitar to diversify this release early on. Next we start off with a soft guitar on “Haldreipi Hugans”, which quickly turns into one of the heavier songs, especially in the early part of this album.
However, this song doesn’t sacrifice the melody that band has chosen to utilize very well. “Prìsund”, while a pretty short song, turns the sadness up to 11, and is one of the best tracks on this album in terms of atmosphere. Next we have “Ljósaslædur”, which starts off soft, but over its runtime, it begins to build up until it gets back to the fairly heavy black metal that is this band’s style. This song leads directly into “Blódraud Sól”, which is one of the more intense songs on the album, and one that while it might feel a tad bit out of place, also gives the album some nice variation. “Eilìfar Nætur” starts off very soft, before becoming fairly heavy. It then mellows out again, featuring some of the best guitar work on the album. “Skuggar” opens up very drum focused, before launching to a section that switches between heavy and melodic instrumentals, and ends on a very nice solo. “Í Hálmstráid Held” ends this album on a very heavy note, and feels like a final cry for help, like those previously mentioned emotions were making one more attempt to be heard. This is fantastic. While maybe a bit more variation would be appreciated, this album feels focused, but at the same time like the inside of the mind of someone under extreme duress, maybe going through a loss. While not quite perfect, this embodies emotion better than most metal out there
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Sam Hookom