Árstíðir Lífsins (Seasons of Life) is a relatively new band. They were formed in 2008 by Stefán, who is also in 2 other German pagan black metal bands Kerbenok and Eldborg. Stefán gathered 9 other members! Few of them are from Germany, while the rest of them are from Iceland and Norway. So actually Árstíðir Lífsins is a Nordic international band and its lyrical concept deals with Iceland’s history of the second half of the 10th century AD, based on careful research and scientific literature. The band released its debut album “Jötunheima Dolgferð” in 2010 with the German label Ván Records in a beautiful deluxe digibook. Two years later they return with their second masterpiece “Vápna Lækjar Eldr” and only a few line-up changes (9 total members this time).
Continuing where their debut work ended, both lyrically and musically, Árstíðir Lífsins offer us a brilliant album, with 9 huge compositions lasting for almost 78 minutes! They play epic pagan black metal with a few folk elements. Their music is based on their excellent guitars, where epic riffing is combined with melodic acoustic guitars and synths, creating the perfect setting for their story. The band often changes its style into ambient or acoustic oriented music and their rhythm from epic mid-tempo, to faster extreme outbursts, or tranquil passages. Their compositions though are much more tight than the debut album, since all these styles are merged into a very solid result. Traditional acoustic instruments like viola, horn, organ and piano add a natural “warmth” in their music, but the band uses these instruments only when needed… Their vocals are really great! They mostly sing in the typical pagan black metal style, but they have also kept these amazing shrieking screams (introduced on the debut). Enchanting epic choirs and a few clean vocals give much more depth and interest in their songs. Despite the long duration, the band avoids repetition and the album is overflowing of fresh ideas! Coming to the lyrics again, Árstíðir Lífsins tries to revive the daily life of the 10th century in Westfjords of Iceland, describing a vendetta between two families. They are written in old Icelandic, based on translations from authentic Skaldic sources… You can find much more information about them in their official pages and of course in the very detailed booklet.
“Vápna Lækjar Eldr“ is an album that should belong in every pagan black metal collection. It’s not only the brilliant music, but the amazing 22 x 22 cm sized art-book with embossed black cardboard cover and 46-pages same sized booklet. The booklet includes manuscripts, translations into Icelandic (lyrics) and English, as well as drawings. It is released again via Ván Records and there is also a lavish 12″ double LP version for vinyl lovers. Invest without second thoughts!