Icelandic duo Katla features ex-Sólstafir drummer and artist Guðmundur Óli Pálmason and singer/multi-instrumentalist Einar Thorberg Guðmundsson, and the soundscapes these two mere mortals create are as majestically foreboding as the volcano they’re named after. For anyone familiar with Sólstafir, Móðurástin occupies similarly experimental environs, its first few tracks – the chilling synths and foreboding vocals of Hyldýpi that flourish into chasm-rattling choruses, or the slow-burn tragedy of Hvíla – elevated by a shared indefinable Icelandic quintessence. Just when you think you have the record figured out, things take a nasty turn with Hreggur, satisfying the Icelandic penchant for breathtaking black metal, accompanied by a melodramatic baroque vocal. It’s become customary to expect the unexpected when it comes to the artistic output of the land of ice and fire; Katla offer yet more proof that volcanic rock tops all other formations.
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