Epic, classically-influenced and beautifully-crafted, Hvel, the third record from Icelandic folk metalers ÁRSTÍÐIR, stands strong as a powerhouse of an album.
A mix of hauntingly beautiful folk music and cutting edge indie-folk rock, there is a lot to unpack and listen to time and time again with this release. Unlike some of their heavier musical cousins, ÁRSTÍÐIR focus on interweaving melody with catchy rock, instead of with brutal black metal. The result is a cohesive, strong and musically-layered release.
“Moonlight” is one of the more melodic and powerful songs on the album, and one of the most memorable. “You Again,” closer to the end of the record, is haunting and a good overall summary of the power and melodic range behind the album.
Overall this record is recommended for anyone who is a fan of Icelandic folk-inspired rock, such as the already-well-known Sólstafir, but they definitely bring their own unique take to the music. While it’s certainly experimental and outside of the realm of straightforward metal, ÁRSTÍÐIR’s music is very well executed.