Zhrine: Unortheta

Iceland’s extremists put their stamp on black metal

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Perhaps it’s something in the sulphur-laced water, but Icelandic metal bands have gained a reputation for both longevity and spectacular sonic evolution – think Sólstafir and Momentum.

Continuing that trend comes Reykjavik’s Zhrine, the band formally known as death metal troupe Gone Postal. Thankfully, those of you snorting mead out of your nose will be pleased to hear, the transformation unleashed across Unortheta is just as pronounced as their change of moniker.

Opener Utopian Warfare doesn’t immediately beat you around the skull with blastbeats like a soggy severed leg; rather, tranquil post-metal guitars float you into a melancholic black metal hell that then evolves into a battery of guttural Behemoth-isms.

This strive for experimentalism again appears during World – a track that in owing something in tone and texture to Russian Circles goes a long way to capturing what Deafheaven are missing – yet they’ve not forgotten their roots, as evident during the stampeding blastfest of Empire.