HERMODR - Carved in Ice / A Place of Eternal Twilight (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2016)
I don’t know if there’s anything more that I can write about the music of Hermóðr what I already haven’t written. I mean, I got something like six CDs of this project within a year or something and I can see that Rafn consequently walks the path of melancholic, doomy black metal he chosen in the beginning. And basically every release is a fine representation of his style. What’s important – and that’s something I’ve always been underlying in my reviews – is that despite such a frequent release schedule that Hermóðr has, Rafn manages to keep high quality on his recordings. It’s always there. What else is important is his gift for composing stunning melodies that make his music sound almost beautiful and surely very capturing.
And when I was listening to one of the newest Hermóðr releases, which is a compilation of two long EPs: “Carved in Ice” and “A Place of Eternal Twilight”, both recorded in 2016, I basically have had the same impression – that it’s a good quality sorrowful black metal, with some splendid melodies and captivating dark atmosphere. The music floats very slowly and is not really demanding, as it’s just so easily listenable. If you know his earlier works, then you will not get surprised at all.
But there’s one more side of the coin. And while I think that the high quality of Hermóðr is still here, it was also the first time, when while listening to Rafn’s music I started to ask myself, where is it all going? I mean the impression of repetitiveness and stagnation also had to finally appear. The thing is – is there anything that would distinguish these two EPs from the previous recordings? Is it anything better than such “Då skogen var ung” or “What Once Was Beautiful”? I am afraid that no, it’s not. It almost feels like you’ve been constantly circling around very similar scheme, the same melodic lines and rhythms or the same vocal patterns. While it was fantastic to hear it for the first or third time, now when I got Hermóðr’s sixth CD, I feel like it becomes tiresome and almost slightly boring. Maybe my impression would be different if I heard these two EPs before the other stuff that Rafn did, who knows. But at the moment I feel like I get a bit bored.
Don’t get me wrong though – this is still a damn fine stuff, I was playing it with pleasure. There are some stunning moments on this CD, like for example in “A Place of Eternal Twilight” and “I Watch It Burn”. Fantastic melodies, hypnotizing, enchanting feeling, easily listenable melancholic black metal… So, even if this was the first time that I really had something critical to say about Hermóðr, it doesn’t mean that I stopped liking Rafn’s music. It just has its faults. But this faults are more hearable with every next release of this project.
“Carved in Ice / A Place of Eternal Twilight” CD is limited to 250 copies only.
Standout track: “Carved In Ice”, “I Watch It Burn”
Final rate: 70/100