"No wonder this beautifully bleak record is so heavy": Faraoese doom merchants Hamferd prove the worst things do happen at sea with monolithic new concept album Men Guðs Hond Er Sterk

Based on real-life tragedy on the Faroe Islands, Hamfrerd;s new album Men Guðs Hond Er Sterk is one of the most stunningly crushing doom metal albums you're likely to hear in 2024

(Image: © Gaui H Pic)

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Two hundred miles north of the UK, the Faroe Islands sit amid icy waters, isolated from the rest of the world. With a population of only 54,000, they could be forgiven for not making a substantial contribution to heavy music, but Hamferð (and others) have repeatedly confounded expectations. 

Their last album, Támsins Likam, was a revelation, its distinctive blend of crushing, melodic doom, austere melody and frostbitten atmospherics a powerfully vivid evocation of the windswept Faroese experience. 

Six years on, Men Guðs Hond Er Sterk (‘But Strong Is The Hand Of God’) digs ever deeper into those harsh realities. It’s inspired by the 1915 whaling disaster that unfolded off the shore of the village of Sandvik, as 14 men lost their lives while in pursuit of their seaborn prey. Chillingly, the locals watched the horror unfold from the shoreline. No wonder this beautifully bleak record is so fucking heavy. 

Recorded without the use of a click-track, these songs surge and heave with the naturalistic fluidity of the waves. Alternately devastating and serene, Hamferð move as one; from vocalist Jón Aldará’s miraculous baritone, to its slow-motion but rapacious wall of guitars, this is doom reimagined as an echo of nature’s immense power. 

At times, the sheer heaviness is overwhelming. From the majestic sweep of opener Ábær (‘To The Storm’), to the mournful poignancy of the title track, Hamferð are both stirred and consumed by their tragic history. Most startling of all, Hvølja (‘Whaleskin’) provides a merciless payoff. With a warped, abyssal floe of detuned bass that sounds permanently on the brink of disintegration, it’s a sustained and visceral roar of desolate woe that continually threatens to reduce speakers to dust. 

They don’t make metal records like this anywhere else in the world. The curse of the Faroes lives on.

Men Guðs Hond Er Sterk is out now. Hamferð tour the UK with Solstafir and Oranssi Pazuzu in November. For the full list of dates, visit the band's official website.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.