HERMODR - The Darkness of December (WOLFSPELL - CD 2016)
“The Darkness of December” is another album from Hermóðr, which I was playing intensively through the past few days. And I sincerely don’t know what else can I write about the music of Rafn, what I have not written already. This project is consequently walking its own path of depressive and sorrowful black metal and it looks like nothing will make it choose something different. And that’s good, because why change something if it works so damn well? I can call myself a fan of Hermóðr, some of the albums that I had a chance to hear were just stunning, “Då skogen var ung” being my absolute favourite, along such “What Once Was Beautiful” or split with Kalmankantaja. “The Darkness of December” is another great opus of the Hermóðr that I can recommend strongly, even though I can expect that some of you may have problems with Rafn’s music and its tendency to sound monotonous. It feels almost tiresome and over extensive when you realize that the whole albums is seventy minutes long and it’s seventy minutes of almost one dimensional, constantly slow and utterly melancholic music. My advice then, before you sit and play “The Darkness of December”, is to make sure you’re in a right mood for it. Otherwise it just won’t work for you and you’ll think of it as something way too boring. But if the mood is right, if the surrounding is properly set, then I am sure that music of Hermóðr will devour you with its dark, depressive aura, hypnotizing rhythm and so many enchanting melodies. Quite often it all sounds like clash of the opposites, when you hear raw sounding, minimalistic guitar parts with harsh, screaming vocals along the parts of keyboards that are present basically the whole time, and which sound like they were bringing light and harmony to the world of darkness and chaos.
So, it’s not an easy album, to be honest, even if the music may seem so. But it’s not easy to listen the whole “The Darkness of December” in one take, just as it’s not so obvious if any of the albums parts will really stay with you, when they all feel very similar. My personal impression is that maybe it’s the first time when I started to think that it’s a bit too much, a bit too long album… but on the other hand I like the music of Hermóðr so much that it’s not a major problem for me. This is why I’m not making a big deal with its supposed lack of variety of whatever. I won’t be surprised if you feel so, but as said before, you need to be in proper mood for this album.
Final rate: 70/100