Sunday, June 30, 2019

Bandcamp Picks - Mystískaos Edition

Good news is rare these days, so you can imagine my excitement when it was announced that Mystískaos has begun operations, continuing where Fallen Empire Records left off last year. As with its predecessor, the label specializes in avant garde black metal, vinyl releases and "name your price" downloads.

Since Mystískaos is a joint effort between H.V. Lyngdal and Alex Poole, it's only appropriate that one of its first releases would be a collaboration between their respective bands Wormlust and Skáphe. With only two songs and running over half an hour, Kosmískur Hryllingur will test your tolerance for psychedelic black metal, running the gamut from uncomfortable to mind numbing without providing the listener anything resembling a traditional riff. A reminder of why Iceland is a fountainhead for some of the strangest and most unique takes on black metal.

Martröð is another collaboration between Lyngdal, Poole, and Skaphe guitarist Dagur Gonzales (also in Nadra, among other Icelandic bands). Their 2-song EP Transmutation of Wounds hews closely to the Icelandic black metal template, with eerie chords floating over both slow and blasting sections. This slipped through the cracks when Fallen Empire released it back in 2016; hopefully its presence on the Mystískaos roster is a sign that there's more to come from this project.

An offshoot of the Icelandic black metal band Mannveira, Andavald slows things to a crawl with their debut album. Undir skyggðarhaldi takes the discordant and atmospheric trappings of Icelandic black metal, but slows the tempo down and gives it a 3/4 lilt, edging the album into gothic doom for much of its 5 song expanse.

Lest you think that Mystískaos promotes Icelandic bands exclusively, the label is also home to Spain's Délirant. This solo project's self-titled debut is very much on brand for the label, combining psychedelia, dissonance, and an aircraft hangar's worth of reverb for an atmospheric black metal album that revels in ugliness and discomfort.