Icelandic Isolationists Óreiða Debut Three Demos

It’s not every day that Black Metal & Brews raises its voice to share new music anymore. There’s something to be said for utilizing a discerning, firm hand in selecting what to put out to the world and what to let others cover. When these demos from Icelandic isolationist Óreiða reached my ears, I knew they were essential for those keeping up with the genre’s underground. To be released in conjunction with Signal Rex & Harvest of Death, this label will be launching with three cult demos covering varying shades of depressed, furious, and endlessly inward gazing black metal that often seems to consume itself. Digital listeners and Icelandic locals should direct purchases to the Óreiða bandcamp, while other orders should be placed with Signal Rex, with all tapes shipping on January 24th. Let’s dig right in, with exclusive streams of each demo in full.

Fittingly, we’ll begin with Óreiða itself, the band sharing the name with this little batch of demos. This is hypnotic, droning black metal that cuts through its own layered dissonance. From the opening resonance to the shockingly abrupt end of “Skugginn” and the harrowing ambiance of “Lok” that serves as its denoument, this demo runs its course in about twelve minutes. It’s primitive in its inward approach, yet there’s something moving to the way in which it spirals wildly. Melody and texture aren’t sacrificed to the murk, but work with it in a way that reminds of classics of days long gone. It’s chilling, but still stands on its own. Whether you yearn for glory days of Norway’s sparser acts or your interests lie with things that were more “cult” than classic, you’ll find something familiar and worthwhile here.

With a slightly longer play time and more of a brooding, diabolical pace is the first offering from Ónefnt. Dense, trudging, and melancholic, this demo is a marked departure from its companions. Fans of the more melodically and environmentally minded isolationists, from Cascadia to the European mountains, will find much to appreciate here. Although the lyrical content is not addressed, there’s a sort of grandeur to this that places it in such sonic territory. It’s probably the most atmospheric and epic of the Óreiða batch, although it by no means gives clarity or sense of security in the midst of its foggy atmospheres. Perfect music for getting lost in your head or the wilderness.

Rounding out this post and update is a collection of two demos from Grimmd. With more of a slow building approach and a rigid militaristic backbone, Grimmd exerts a forceful precision. There’s often a sensation of unrelated elements fusing, often spiraling from separate places towards a chaotic, centrifugal core, especially on standout tracks “Kvika” and “VII”. This seems the most likely of the Óreiða projects to garner greater attention due to the sheer scope of the sound and the fury with which it’s delivered. It’s got the feel of a live band rehearsal demo with the production to bolster it just a bit past that. Crisp, vicious, and relentless in execution, this is an early standout for 2017 in demos.