Kontinuum – Kyrr (Candlelight)Thursday, 4th June 2015
Supremely underrated Iceland…back at it again. The country has such a small metal scene, yet its ratio of good bands to crappy is quite obvious, especially when taking a run at a band like Kontinuum. The band’s 2013 Earth Blood Magic debut is thoroughly striking, built upon vast crests of atmosphere and post-metaldom. A sleeper album for sure, Earth Blood Magic will no doubt be surpassed by its successor, Kyrr, a body of work that isn’t as much of a departure as is the demonstration of a band hereby culling any and all of its influences and giving them an exciting whirl.
Intrinsic to Kyrr’s mobility is the fact that it sheds virtually any and all of the black metal influences found on Earth Blood Magic. Whereas said album had a touch of Enslaved (recent era, not Viking-era), Kyrr is virtually devoid of such leanings, favoring a dark, new-wave vibe, which to the naked eye (or ear) would feel out of place, but makes utter sense after the album’s opening cut “Breathe,” and “Í Huldusal,” which quickly emerges as the band’s best number to date. The melodic feed of the song is second-to-none, uplifted by jangly guitars, Icelandic lyrics (fine by us), and backdoor symphonic elements. In essence: It’s a gem of a song.
Elsewhere, more restraint is demonstrated on “Hliðargötu-heimsveldi,” where a flood of clean-channel guitars may hay. The album’s title track, along with the pulsing, Killing Joke-inspired “In Shallow Seas” help place Kontinuum further on the outskirts of what is expected from an Icelandic metal band, which at this point, should be anything.
An album that should hold serve in the atmospheric fray throughout 2015, Kyrr is a tremendous showing by Kontinuum, who have done what every good band should do on their sophomore album: Improve. Not much to balk at here. Kyrr is a mystic whirlwind of divergent forces coming together in atmospheric metal glory.