Review by Fernando on June 20, 2019.
After 4 years and several trials, acclaimed Icelandic black metal band Misþyrming are back with their long awaited sophomore album Algleymi and it is in my humble opinion another triumph for the band.
The band first took the spotlight with their masterpiece Söngvar elds og óreiðu and then released an excellent song “Hof”. That album and single showed the world of metal what Misþyrming were capable of and in this new album they continue to take black metal into bolder new directions. The first thing of note here is how the band has become a single working unit, a true band. I wrote in my review of their debut how that album was founder D.G.’s unique vision, and indeed that album was done almost entirely by him with help from drummer H.R.H but here all the member of the band made this album and while this is still D.G.’s vision, the rest of his band mates have helped him to fully crystalize their new sound.
The music here is widely different from what we heard on Söngvar..., the band has developed their sound from the raw and chaotic sound of their first record for a much more complex, controlled and even refined style, this is by no means a negative, this is an evolution from what they did before, the songs are just as fast and aggressive but there’s now an added layer of dark atmospheres and the guitar work takes more prominence in the form of melodies and riffing that the band hadn’t really showed before. D.G. and second guitarist T.Í. show off their chops throughout the album, the standout tracks where their guitar work is the main event are the opening track "Orgia" and the second to last track "Alsæla" where the tremolo picking is at its strongest. However I stand by my statement that all the band is what makes this record great, while the guitar work is noteworthy all of the band works together in unison, each member works at 110% and all the music comes together in all the right ways.
The soundscape created here is, as I said, a much different feel than their previous work. The stronger emphasis on the atmosphere is punctuated by the use of keyboards by D.G. they add that extra detail to the music, and as with their previous record the band is not afraid to switch things around with an instrumental dark ambient track, however unlike their previous album, instead of a menacing and ominous interlude the track "Hælið" is a much more morose and contemplative track. In a recent interview D.G. described the album as being bound by the theme of ecstasy and that the last 2 songs encompass the album as a whole both musically and thematically and I agree with that description, the album is both epic and morose, proud and loathsome, it goes through the whole gamut of dark and opulent, it’s a complete step forward for the band and has all the right pieces for Misþyrming to become one of the greatest black metal bands of all time with the only mild observation I can make is the stark contrast between this album and its predecessor, both albums are excellent but in notable different ways and for some people that will be a hurdle to overcome but I suggest that people give this album a chance, because it as I said proves why Misþyrming deserves the credit they’ve gotten.
Best tracks: "Með svipur á lofti", "Ísland", "Steingelda Krummaskuð", "Alsæla", "Algleymi"
Rating: 9.5 out of 10