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Hamferd: Támsins Likam

I have to start by apologizing about how I'll be typing this band's name. The final "d" is actually the character "eth." Despite my best efforts, I can't figure out the right keystrokes to make it right. You'll see the right spelling if you look up the band and I recommend that you do because this album is something special and many of you will want to hear it. I've reviewed over 1,000 albums on this site and this one is among the very best. The band's name refers to an omen of death that a person's loved ones sees before his or her death. Sounds spooky, right? It reminds me of something you'd see on The X-Files, but it's also the name of an excellent band.

Hamferd draws heavily on their Faroese culture, its natural environment, its history, and its folklore for inspiration. Every song on this album is sung in Faroese which never distracted me even if I did not understand what the words meant. It's all about the sound and the atmosphere anyway. Plenty of metal fans around the world have to listen to their favorite bands perform in English so I think I can handle the beauties of Faroese.

I haven't listened to Hamferd until now, but I am definitely planning to catch up with their earlier releases. This album is the third part of a trilogy, the first of which appeared back in 2010. I don't know the full details of the story, but I will write what Jón Aldará (vocals) said about it: "This album marks the beginning of the end. It's the third and final part of our reverse chronological saga, which explores mortality and the perverting nature of loss through the lens of Faroese culture and mythology."

I plan to get more acquainted with the story soon enough, but I want to be clear that fans should check this out even if they don't have a sense in the story at all. That understanding can come later. Just start by listening. The music is hard to describe. It's certainly a species of death / doom but it's unlike any album in that style I've heard before. The whole thing is a reflection on sorrow and death but it is so honest and so ambitious that it transcends simple genre distinctions. It is beautiful and sad and insightful. It is a great album, the kind you'll want to listen to from start to finish regularly.

I can't describe the album much better than that. If you've ever watched a television show like Broadchurch or Shetland (UK shows that focus on murders in small towns), you might get the idea of what this is like. There's a brooding sense of nature and sadness and melancholy here. Humans suffer tragic fates and we all must figure out how to respond to death and despair individually and culturally. The music, heavily inspired by the Faroese culture, makes it seem like all that history, culture, and tradition is shaping the twists and turns of each song. And yet, it is also deeply personal. Despite the heavy influence of Faroese mythology, this isn't a folk metal album in the sense you might think. I'd call it a doom album but it's more searching than most doom records. As a response to suffering and tragic loss, this is a beautiful meditation on why things happen the way they do. This is essential listening.

Track Listing:
1. Fylgisflog
2. Stydg
3. Tvístevndur meldur
4. Frosthvarv
5. Hon syndrast
6. Vápn í anda

Added: January 20th 2018
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1983
Language: english

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