June 15, 2013 by Beldrac
Kontinuum – Earth Blood Magic
Genre: Post/Progressive Metal
Kontinuum is a group out of Iceland and “Earth Blood Magic” is their debut release; right off the bat I’ll say this is an excellent album and I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from this band in the future. This is a very mature-sounding debut, but the band members are established musicians and have been around for a number of years. The two members, Kristján B. Heiðarsson – also in Death Metal band Changer – on drums and Birgir Thorgeirsson – of Potentiam – on the rest, are responsible for the bulk of the instruments, music, and lyrics on the album, with a few guest musicians filling in some blanks.
The style can be described as Post-Metal but the question I’m asking myself is “Post- what?” This is a Metal album and the Post- genres are often used as an easy all-encasing answer for a difficult question. The music on the album flits between Rock and Metal with some shoegazing, Black Metal resonance, and Progressive- and Avant-Garde stylistics, making this a very varied record that is held together very well, nonetheless. Similarities can be drawn with fellow Icelanders Sólstafir and being a big fan of this band, I can heartily recommend this album to any other.
The album opener is an instrumental Post-Rocker overlaid with a snippet of some preacher going on about God and sin, followed by the more mid-tempo “Steinrunninn Skogur” which is sung in their native tongue. The lyrics are two thirds sung in English and one third (I assume) in Icelandic and the vocals are varied throughout, ranging from clean singing to more theatrical bellows and intense screams that add a lot of character to the album. The music at times has a trippy-sixties feel to it, which works especially well in a track like “Strange Air,” where you’re swept up by a sudden rhythm change. Overall the album has a certain schizophrenic quality, after floating on “Strange Air” “Lightbringer” comes along and pummels you with a blast beat and aggressive vocals, only to relent and leave you dazed, gazing at your shoes wondering what hit you. “City” is another smashing track and peaks the very intense middle-part of the album, followed by the melodic rocker “Lys Milda Ljos.”
The last two tracks on the album slow the pace right down and wrap it up beautifully. “Red” is a ballad beautifully performed by guest vocalist Agnes Erna Stefánsdóttir, it starts soft and slow but increases in intensity to deliver a heavier and intense finale with Birgir in duet. Finally, “I Gljufradal” is soft and ambient with vocals accompanied by piano, later joined by bowed strings that put to rest a real cracker.
I want to go to Iceland one day, I want to see the sights, hear the sounds, taste the food, and drink the water (or brennivín…) so I can become awesome too, just like so many of the bands come from this volcanic rock that grew out of the icy Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
My original review at TMO.