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Kontinuum: Kyrr

Stirring second album from the Icelandic contenders.

Sólstafir are currently leading the charge for Icelandic post-rock, a movement whose intense and enchanting tones are a perfect fit for the land of ice and snow. But Kontinuum look set to be a contender for their crown with this spellbinding second album.

Their 2012 debut Earth Blood Magic leaned more on the more metallic side of the post spectrum, but Kyrr is a different beast. It retains the heaviness but ups the prog factor and goes into gothic territories, resulting in an album that is hauntingly dark yet dazzling. Opener Breathe is an ideal introduction to their current soundworld: the perfect blend of catchy grooves and emotional intensity is sure to make your heart swell. This musical ethos continues throughout the album. Kontinuum have mastered the mixing of infectious choruses (though with half the songs in the band’s native tongue the rest of us might just have to hum along) with multi-layered musicianship and rich, hypnotising tones. They show they can do stripped-down, too, with the soft instrumental Lone, while the powerful closer Red Stream builds with fervour to a spine-tingling climax. Is it too early to pick an album of the year?