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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Review: Auðn – Vökudraumsins fangi

Label: Season of Mist

Date: October 30th, 2020

Ever since Sólstafir emerged into the world wide spotlight, we are witnessing an unprecedented rise of interest for the Icelandic black metal scene. There’s already dozens of bands following in similar footsteps. I’m going to risk a flood of hate mail here by stating that most of the spotlight pointed in the direction of bandwagon jumpers is generated by their “exotic” country of origin. Credits where credits are due, but the fact remains that Iceland’s atmospheric and melancholic black metal became as derivative as Norwegian second wave black metal somewhere in the middle of the first decade of the new century.

So, where do Auðn and their third full lentgth album „Vökudraumsins fangi“ stand in this order of things?

In general, somewhere in the middle. There’s a popular saying in Serbia: it neither smells, nor does it stink.

Basically, this is yet another album that will take you on a journey from the epic heights of fabled mountain tops to the utmost depths of human existence. „Vökudraumsins fangi“ is emotional, depressive, melancholic, hopeful at times and… Way too long!

With all the skill that Auðn obviously possesses and decent creative effort infused into this record, 55 minutes is more than the sextet was capable of without making the listener wander off into his or her own train of thought.

The record does escape minimalism by far, which is a good thing. Auðn has more than enough means of crafting fairly versatile tracks. They also have enough skills to arrange their songs without fault. Production is top-notch as well. The riffs they use are not heard countless times before. The rhythm pattern are not overused. From a careless glance, everything seems to work just fine on “Vökudraumsins fangi“.

However, the entire release flows by without even a slight hook that will make me spin it again. There are better and there are worse moments on the record. Just as there are better and worse records than this one. Yet, the one thing to carry from this album is that it will probably leave my playlist now and never return again.

But that’s just me. I’m sure that the new Auðn album will be swallowed up by every fan of Icelandic black metal.