Örmagna are Iceland’s newest black metal export. Like Svartidauði, Zhrine, Misþyrming, Auðn, and Wormlust, Örmagna imbue the country’s fascination with opposites, particularly sonic ones, where darkness collides with light and hope is smashed by fear. Featuring Naðra vocalist Ö, these Reykjavíkans make no bones about what they are and who they are. Those expecting a venture into the nightside eclipse will be heartbroken as will those expecting an inquisition with Satan. Örmagna, while owning features of both Nordic and continental black metal, aren’t so easy a frigid pentagram to pin down.
Across Örmagna, there’s windswept icescapes (“Háskinn í Seljunum” and the title track) and human-derived horror (“Með lögum skal land brjóta” and “Náladoði”). But true to form, Örmagna aren’t single-minded in their approach. The moments of absolute darkness are always splintered by moments of illumination, as if there’s much to learn from both. The violence of “Háskinn í Seljunum” is met by the intense groove of “3 ár í dýflissu,” with “Dansar saurs og saurlífis” employing aspects of both. But this is black metal. There is no joy to be found on Örmagna and from opener “Intro” to closer “Dansar saurs og saurlífis” the Icelanders ensure this is understood.
The return of darkness and evil isn’t from Sweden but Iceland! Rúsínan í Pylsuendanum!