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Draugsol - Volada Land album review

Bleak but beautiful BM from Iceland’s windswept wastes

The current wave of Icelandic black metal is light years away from the genre’s roots in Venom, Bathory, etc, and is free of the restrictions often laid down by the old guard. Travelling towards more expansive and experimental climes, Icelandic BM can now be considered its own subgenre due to its regional resonance.

Relative newcomers Draugsól have a sound that pushes even further beyond to a sophisticated and sonically challenging brand of turbulent BM, exceeding fellow Reykjavík instigators Misþyrming, Sinmara and Svartidauði. No doubt inspired by the country’s famously icy and epic scenery, Volaða Land conjures images of clashing waves and hopeless tempests. Harsh, tremolo-driven riffs lay down a jagged disorientation atop tricky passages of a complex, almost jazz-tinged rhythm section bolstered by delicate acoustics and some soaring lead guitar exploration. Ever twisting and turning, Draugsól’s stormy atmospherics create soundscapes that swell to majestic melodic peaks while the howling vocals evoke their bleakly introspective subject matter.