Season of Mist
Release Date: 8 April 2016
Review by Thomas Riley Lanyon
Over the past few years, the small, Nordic island country of Iceland has become a seedbed for intelligently written, yet cacophonous and murky forms of black and death metal. Zhrine, hailing from the capital of Reykjavik, are one of many bands sowing this noxious noise, and their full-length debut, Unortheda, is a shining example of what this burgeoning underground scene has to offer.
Opening track, Utopian Warfare, starts slow and ends big, a recurring theme for Unortheda as a whole. Each track begins and/or ends with a minute or so of ambient noise, providing not only breathing room for the listener, but also to act as bridges between each of Unortheda’s seven tracks, giving the album a wonderful sense of seamlessness. More often than not, the atmosphere created by these passages decays into grand moments of rot and dissonance, as eerie, swirling guitar lines dance with a rhythm section that shifts between breakneck and thunderous. This is showcased best on tracks such as, The Syringe Dance, World, and The Earth Inhaled. Vocally, Zhrine alternate between guttural growls and scathing shrieks. However, their use on Unortheda resembles that more of an instrument, layered throughout the mix as a tool of mood and tone, rather than that of a lyrical conveyer.
Coming from a scene so rife with talent and potential, Zhrine have more than proved their worth with Unortheda, made even more incredible by the fact that this is their debut album. Big things are yet to come from Zhrine, just you wait.