“Darkness is needed” sounds very much like something your run-of-the-mill black metal outfit would say. Darkness, hellfire, hail Satan, demons and devils -- more bands have tried their hand with these tired old tropes than I’d ever care to know about. But in titling their fifth full-length Myrkurs er þörf ("darkness is needed"), Dynfari pull the idea in a different direction. For them, the darkness is also a force to be embraced, but not as an end in itself; in enduring the darkness, we learn about ourselves in a way that few other experiences can teach.

When we overcome these challenges, we emerge from the shadows all the more resilient for it.

While tempestuous in its peaks, Myrkurs er þörf never lingers there for long -- the scarcity and brevity of these segments combine to lend them even more power than they’d otherwise have. Dynfari measure their doses of aggression, teasing it out, then pulling back to regroup for another salvo. But compared to how their 2017 release The Four Doors of the Mind dwelled predominantly near post-rock terrain, Myrkurs er þörf places Dynfari much closer in touch with the black metal side of their collective personality.

Step into Dynfari’s collective embrace with a stream of the new single "Ég tortímdi sjálfum mér" from Myrkurs er þörf below.

...

...

The band pulls from Hum-informed sludgegaze in addition to post-metal and, of course, the black metal to which they’re most closely situated. The interplay between these components, as well as the band’s occasional shifts in meter, form the dynamism which most strongly characterizes Myrkurs er þörf above all other considerations. Drummer Jón Emil flits between offbeat snare grooves and straightforward rolling kicks or blast beats for a subtler layer of contrast.

Jóhann Örn Sigurjónsson’s vocal style further humanizes the band’s approach. Rather than utilize the expected harsh rasps you usually find in situations like this, he opts for an enrapturing blend of throaty, semi-distorted chanting and full-bodied clean wails, mixed with the occasional howl that reaches up into his falsetto, like when he first enters “Ég tortímdi sjálfum mér.” And though the majority of the lyrics are rendered in Icelandic, Sigurjónsson’s voice, rough around the edges, strained and pleading, delivers as much with its shape as it may with his words.

It’s his straightforwardness that makes him so relatable for the listener.

"'Ég tortímdi sjálfum mér'" (loosely translated as ‘I annihilated myself’) is the B-side opening track of Myrkurs er þörf. The song is originally written by our guitarist Bragi [Knútsson], and includes some deeply personal lyrics that originate from the deepest depths of depression and despair,” explains Sigurjónsson. “As with the rest of the album's theme, the purpose is not to wallow in self pity, but rather to emphasize the importance of these darker days in a wider context and the human resilience we all possess to overcome hardship. This is perhaps symbolized in the song's conclusion.”

Dynfari exhibit genuine concern for their audience, crafting a sensitive album borne of care and love. Whereas so much black metal originates from a point of antagonism and reflects these sentiments in its medium -- the inhuman wails, the abrasive guitars, the nonstop pummeling of the drums -- Dynfari adopts a far more humanist stance. And though Myrkurs er þörf is teeming with tense moments, the band safely navigate the listener through these treacherous rapids of their own creation to settle in respites of calm.

...

Myrkurs er þörf releases September 18th via code666, a sub-label of Aural Music.


Support Invisible Oranges on Patreon and check out our merch.