This year looks really good, it didn’t finish yet and there were few albums that I waited for. One of them is the second album of Misþyrming released by Norma Evangelium Diaboli in May. The debut album called “Söngvar elds og óreiðu” (Songs of Fire and Chaos) was released in 2015 and it hit me like a towing truck. I think the title says it all. Music spreads like wildfire in your head and its chaos supported by that specific sultry atmosphere like it was recorded in Hekla or other famous Icelandic volcano during its eruption. That said the bar was set quite high by the debut album. 4 years of waiting made the hunger even greater.
So I push play and first track “Orgia” starts very well until about 1.5 minute into it and I start to think, is this the Misþyrming I know? The music is more melodic and straight away I get one name in my head: Mgła. They use similar hooded and masked visual concept as the Polish band. But the sulphurous, choking and chaotic Black Metal is gone and it gave field to a more melodic version. Oh well…its just the first track, maybe its just a teaser and with another track called “Með Svipur á Lofti” band will show that relentless fury? Nope. Maybe with third one called “Ísland, Steingelda Krummaskuð” everything will be as it should? Again no. It seems that Misþyrming left for good territories they explored on the debut album and with the new one they went totally different path. To tell the truth I was so surprised and gobsmacked with those 3 first songs that I even didn’t listen properly to those tracks…thinking what the hell had happened there. And then it came, fourth track on the album “Hælið” which is an instrumental one. And it connected straight away. I’ve listened to it on repeat at least dozen times. Great atmosphere and that incredible “David Lynch movie music” feeling to it. Maybe if “Hælið” was on the start of the album it would change my perception of it? Or maybe not. Who knows.
So with fresh mind and after listening to “Hælið” at least 30 times in a row I started to listen to “Algleymi” from the beginning. I tried not to compare it to the debut album. I enjoyed those first 3 tracks, shivered when “Hælið” played again, found that fifth track “Og Er Haustið Líður Undir Lok” has really good rock vibe and catchy riffs but with the corner of my eye I was looking towards “Söngvar elds og óreiðu” which was screaming to me to put it on the CD tray. I still have higher regards for the debut album but I can see that most of the people who will listen to “Algleymi” will like it more than the chaotic and unpredictable “Söngvar elds og óreiðu”. While the debut album is like an eruption of a volcano; fast, relentless, powerful and chaotic…the follow up is more like what happens after when the lava slowly but surely covers everything in its path. Still deadly but it lacks that chaotic and choking madness. All that unpredictability is gone, not including “Hælið” which is the biggest surprise on the album and to me best track on the album.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a quite good album in general. They know what they are doing, their musicianship is flawless and the production is superb. It just doesn’t surprise with anything (apart from “Hælið”). It sounds like a typical hooded and masked Mgła follow up which I didn’t expect after the debut album. For fans of that specific style it’s a must have. For people like me which have a high regard for the debut album, it is a little bit of a let down. Too much of melody and rock vibe and not enough of Black Metal comparing it to “Söngvar elds og óreiðu”, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Especially if you didn’t like debut album. Reaction and words of my wife when she heard new Misþyrming (and she doesn’t listen to metal in general) tells it all “That’s quite nice music, very melodic and catchy… if it wasn’t the vocals”. (Sulphur)