Kontinuum: Earth Blood Magic

Soul-wracking splendour from the Icelandic wastes

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Ignoring genre boundaries and fucking with your expectations at every step, Iceland’s Kontinuum have concocted an astonishing cocktail of depression that combines punk energy, post-rock weight and ambience, melancholic metal despondency and the occasional flash of Emperor’s ferocity into cohesive, coherent compositions that push every button on your emotional keypad.

Opener Endgame harks of countrymen Sólstafir’s starkness and Killing Joke’s weight, Lightbearer’s searing turbulence is filled with blackened fury and Lýs Milda Ljós invokes the gloom of Paradise Lost before closer Í Gljufradal plunges you into cold misery with piano and violin.

The album could have ended up as an overly challenging mess, but it’s too mesmeric to feel demanding. There’s no escaping the profound anguish coursing through Earth Blood Magic, the only glimpses of light quickly fading as all hope dies. It’s hugely affecting, and utterly brilliant.