Artist: Dynfari

Album Title: Myrkurs er þörf

Label: Code666

Date of Release: 18 September 2020

Those that know me, know that I have a soft spot for all things Iceland. You’ll also know that I have another soft spot for bands like Solstafir, who blend organic, melodic, and atmospheric black metal with more post-metal offerings. Put the two together and you’re faced with Dynfari, and their fifth album ‘Myrkurs er þörf’, translated to mean ‘Darkness Is Needed’.

Dynfari is comprised of Jóhann Örn (vocals, bass, accordion, synths, guitars), Jón Emil (drums, percussion, guitars), Martin Tsenov (guitars), and Bragi Knutsson (guitars). Aside from the fact that September was a month where I felt burnt out by reviews, the delay in bringing this review to fruition is because I have been in two minds about it. The reason for my confusion, it turns out, is obvious, but it took me a little while to figure out. It’s the production.

Make no mistake, I do like a clear, rich production. But I’m all in favour of a raw production if it is in keeping with the music and the aesthetics of the output. Here though, I can’t help but think that the music would have been much better-served with a better sound. No, that’s wrong. Not better, just different. It is clear that the quartet wanted to achieve a rawer output this time around, and had said as much prior to the release of this record. But, in my opinion, it has gone too far, and it robs me of some of my enjoyment of the music on offer.

I get the feeling, every time I listen, that I really should be enjoying the music more than I do, that this could be an incredibly satisfying record, full of material that I would normally lap up. But there’s a flatness to the experience. My aging dog went to the vets recently and the quality of her eyesight was likened to seeing things through a pair of net curtains. I might describe listening to this album in a similar fashion, that it is like listening to the music with your hands over your ears. There’s a lack of definition, a muddiness, and a dullness that is difficult to reconcile with.

But hey, let’s be more positive and instead, focus on the strengths of ‘Myrkurs er þörf’. These strengths are undoubtedly in the compositional nous of the band, and their individual abilities, meaning that the songs themselves are very good, and can be enjoyed despite my misgivings over the production.

Dynfari get the ball rolling with ‘Dauðans dimmu dagar’, an atmospheric post rock/metal instrumental with a sense of grandeur, as well as a simple, yet effective melodic spine. It’s a rousing opener, one that gets stronger the more times I listen to it.

In contrast, ‘Langar nætur (í botnlausum spíralstiga)’ is very much cut from the black metal cloth, with fast riffing and potent drumming at the centre of things. Then, out of nowhere, comes an extremely flamboyant lead guitar section, under which are some great chunky riffs that are allowed to resonate beautifully. The lead guitar histrionics continue, with some glorious wailing to be heard. Jóhann Örn’s vocals are rather intriguing too, being part spoken, part screamed, and occasionally off-key, although I rather suspect this is deliberate, as it works surprisingly well.

If truth be told, the more I listen to ‘Myrkurs er þörf’, the more I tend to notice that’s positive. Further highlights from out of the murkiness include ‘Ég tortímdi sjálfum mér’, which begins gently with a throbbing bass, an instrument that is absent without leave at points on the record. But it slowly builds and, with the increase of soaring, ethereal vocals to counterpoint the more general, earthy tones, not to mention an expansive lead guitar lick, there’s a thoroughly enjoyable epic quality to the composition. ‘Peripheral Dreams’ by contrast, begins at a fair pace, before settling into a sedate plod for large periods. With some exquisite moments, the band explores those post-rock tendencies to full effect in the process, made all the more powerful by the juxtaposition with the more frantic black metal aspects of the song. At over ten minutes, it’s the longest composition on the album, but it also happens to be one of the best, too.

Get past the raw production, concentrate, and there’s a really great album to be heard here. Dynfari are a class act, as ‘Myrkurs er þörf’ more than ably demonstrates, especially when it comes to writing emotive and evocative soundscapes within the black/post-rock sphere. I just hope that the band realise that they might have gone a bit too far with the production on this occasion, and rectify it next time, so that their huge abilities can shine unhindered.

The Score of Much Metal: 79%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Amaranthe – Manifest

Kataklysm – Unconquered

Structural Disorder – Kingdom Crossing

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment Of Chaos

Prehistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter One)

Ihsahn – Pharos

Hinayana – Death Of The Cosmic
Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber
Okyr – Premorbid Intelligence
Manticora – To Live To Kill To Live
Pain Of Salvation – Panther
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium
Unleash The Archers – Abyss
Veonity – Sorrows
Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
Ages – Uncrown
Awake By Design – Awake By Design
Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
Gaerea – Limbo
Buried Realm – Embodiment Of The Divine
Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews