Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Hræ - Þar sem skepnur reika

Another day, another Icelandic black metal record. It's crazy to see how much good music comes out of a country with a population less than that of Portland. The latest contribution to this blasphemous canon is Þar sem skepnur reika. This stunning debut captures all of the chaos of black metal but injects it with that particular Icelandic black metal flair. What that flair is I can't exactly describe, but I know it when I hear it and Þar sem skepnur reika has it all over this debut album. It makes for compelling listening.

While there certainly are newer ideas on this record, Hræ consistently also show a healthy respect for the genres rich past. A track like 'Tungur og Eiturský' only becomes stronger with its bombastic Darkthrone-esque ministrations. Þar sem skepnur reika seems to revel in hitting ever darker depths, going below the bottom and forcing the listener to choke on the bitter pill of black metal slaughter. The way that the band continues to execute throughout this record makes it fascinating. As a general rule I think that Þar sem skepnur reika really wins my heart with the power of the atmosphere. With every track you feel like you're gazing further into a bleak abyss.

There is a searing magic here, a blaze in the northern sky that helps to make Þar sem skepnur reika a record I think many fans will treasure .Goathorned Productions has once more done a wonderful job of identifying exactly what makes a black metal record truly good. While Hræ certainly don't go too far off the beaten path with this record who says that they have too every time? Instead this becomes a record that captures the imagination, hints at bold new futures and reminds us that Icelandic black metal ist krieg.

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