Hræ – Þar Sem Skepnur Reika (Review)

Hræ - Þar Sem Skepnur ReikaHræ is a one-man Icelandic black metal band and this is his debut album.

Hræ’s brand of black metal is dark and menacing, with an experimental edge that reeks of dissonant malevolence.

The discordant chaos of Þar Sem Skepnur Reika is a twisted, bleak joy to behold. This is music that is pained and grim; a whirlwind of barely restrained violence that seeks to inflict its own pain on others. The songs do contain more than just this though, as other, calmer, more introspective elements appear here and there, as do snatches of apocalyptic doom-fuelled atmosphere.

While dissonance is a prime component of the songs on Þar Sem Skepnur Reika, they also contain a raw aggression that’s atavistic in its delivery. Unleashed here as it is surrounded by dissonant darkness and malignant grandeur, it’s an otherworldly callback to the old-school, while also being thoroughly contemporary in other ways. Some of the sinister, slithering riffs here have to be heard to be believed.

The vocals range from ghostly screams to deep, horrific growls, with a range covered between. Lurking just beneath the surface of the music like daemonic predators, they’re less like conventional vocals and more like musical accompaniments from another instrument.

Þar Sem Skepnur Reika is an enjoyable album that should be sought out by all lovers of blackened darkness. Forging a sound that combines classic black metal with modern dissonance and chaos, the artist behind Hræ has produced a very satisfying slice of anguished black metal.

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