AMN Reviews: Undirheimar – Vardlokkur (2022; Cyclic Law)

Undirheimar presents a distinct sound on Vardlokkur – ritual drone and dark ambient with gritty, shamanistic vocalizations and pounding martial percussion. This album runs only 34 minutes and consists of three tracks, two long and one short. Though brief by today’s standards, Undirheimar packs a lot into this compact offering. They say what they want to say and then stop.

Deep, hissing drones characterize Vardlokkur almost as much as the chants, which incorporate a form of bassy throat singing and controlled growling. While easy to miss due to being mostly in the background, other sounds add texture and color, such as what appear to be bells, wind instruments, and found-object percussion. This results in an organic overall feel – perhaps of nature coming up from earthy depths to reclaim the world’s surface from human dominion.

Vardlokkur is a compelling follow-on to the band’s 2020 effort, Heljarrúnar. It is just as mysterious yet markedly listenable. The album was released on April 1.