This. This! This is what black metal is about! The dark atmosphere, the melodies, the chaos and the raw and brutal beauty of this album is just striking. Sinmara has taken a small step away from their solely chaotic roots, which placed them in some sort of post-Deathspell Omega category. Instead they have to a larger extent embraced the Scandinavian school of black metal melodies. Through this the music is still chaotic at times, the wall of sound that’s constructed for the album is massive, but the melodies and the more direct riffing has turned the music into a beast that leaves the listener dumbfounded but still wanting more. Iceland has been a force to reckon with within the black metal scene for a couple of years now, but this time they sure do deliver without a hint of hipster hype. This album is the real deal.

To make an album this powerful in today’s black metal climate is really hard – almost bordering the impossible. It does happens though; last year Funeral Mist consolidated the bands legendary status with “Hekatomb” and back in 2012 Mgła gave us the monumental “With Hearts Toward None”, to name two examples. “Hvísl Stjarnanna” places Sinmara in that exclusive club of bands that takes black metal to a new level and delivers an album which speaks straight to the heart and soul of the listener. The atmosphere, which is to be considered as the very core of black metal, is just so right, so timeless and so ever-present on this album.

Best black metal album of the year already in March? It very well might be so… “Hvísl Stjarnanna” will chill you to the bone and you will love it.

Artist: Sinmara

Album: Hvísl Stjarnanna

Label: Ván Records

Date of release: 2019-03-08

Number of tracks: 6

Running time: 42:18

Rate: 9/10

Standout tracks: “Úr kaleik martraða” and the title track has a tiny advantage over the rest, but this is a very even experience.