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Review: Árstíŏir Lífsins - Vápna lækjar eldr
Árstíŏir Lífsins
Vápna lækjar eldr

Label: Van Records
Year released: 2012
Duration: 1:17:47
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black/Folk Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: August 21, 2012
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
Vápna lækjar eldr

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)

Árstíŏir Lífsins play a grand style of folk/black metal that is meticulously crafted. Their second full-length Vápna lækjar eldr is some serious business at nearly an hour and twenty minutes in length. The band sing about Old Norse mythology, history and literature, which is something I'm not too well versed in although I can easily see how much effort the members of the band have put into this full-length.

The album itself is certainly enjoyable, but I have to stress what a massive investment of time is required in getting to know Vápna lækjar eldr. The folk elements are very well done here, feeling as though they're an essential element to the band as opposed to being tacked on for fun. The majority of the songs are gargantuan, spanning seven to fourteen minutes for the most part, each of which feels painstakingly crafted for maximum effect. The lyrics are all written, sung and narrated in a foreign language that I believe is Old Icelandic but I'm not 100% sure. However history buffs and those with an interest in the region from its history right up to mythology should be able to understand the magnitude of this release. As a result I would say those types are absolutely spoilt rotten with the wealth of material on Vápna lækjar eldr and should certainly find something special contained within.

Whilst there is clearly a load of stuff going on thematically, the band never forget the metal element to their sound, which is certainly commendable and throughout the album all of the black metal elements are done well, and the music is strong with some grand riffs. It would be pointless to even try to name standout tracks as the album serves more as an experience or a piece of art than it does a collection of songs. A demanding, and sometimes draining album, Vápna lækjar eldr tries to do a lot over its runtime and mostly succeeds, never becoming convoluted or boring which is an achievement in itself. Fans of folk/black metal should clear their schedules and take this album away for some serious inspection; I can assure it will be time well spent. Recommended!

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