Review Summary: A destructive, yet introspective EP from one of Iceland's premier black metal groups.
Iceland’s black metal scene has seen an absolute explosion of fantastic releases in recent years. It seems that new frostbitten collectives are emerging almost daily to deliver what has become an unheavenly new standard in blackened insanity. One of the obvious frontrunners in this movement is Sinmara, a five-piece band that crosses the barrier from darkness to void-ridden filth on a regular basis. After the diabolic Aphotic Womb in 2014 and a split with fellow Icelanders Mispyrming earlier this year, Sinmara is back with a new set of prayers to all things chaotic in the form of Within the Weaves of Infinity, a twenty minute EP that brings a slew of new influences and ideas to the table.
While this may be a short piece of work for a band that released an hour-long juggernaut only a few short years ago, Sinmara has no trouble filling every second with intense, compelling music. The eponymous first track wastes no time whatsoever, ripping a black hole in the senses with its melancholic riffing and complex drumming. Astoundingly, the band somehow finds a way to ratchet up the intensity even further shortly into the track, progressing to a unique brand of evil tremolo picking and fast-paced blasts that lift the track into the stratosphere. The listener’s heart rate is sure to quicken as a nuanced, atmospheric break takes the reins and continues to evolve until the track’s thrilling conclusion. The other tracks are similar in scope, never lingering on a certain riff but growing and swelling to devastating effect. Guitars that do everything in their power to engulf the listener with their insane dissonance and constant flux dominate each track, bringing them to life and also bringing emotional release with each passing second. The percussion and vocals do more than just follow suit; they bring an even higher level of complexity and passion to an album that is already bursting with both.
Within the Weaves of Infinity can certainly be counted as an evolutionary step forward from Sinmara’s previous work. Aphotic Womb was a demonic, destructive affair that seeked to cause total obliteration within minutes. This newest effort trades some of that vinegar for more emotional depth and a greater atmospheric effect. Make no mistake though, these tracks carry every bit of intensity and sonic annihilation as any other black metal release this year. Sinmara has simply learned to wield their weapons more effectively, easily leaving the listener emotionally battered and bruised by the EP’s conclusion. The production lends itself well to this end with a perfect blending of classic lo-fi and modern aesthetics. Every instrument is clear and powerful. This mix is absolutely necessary, for the music is insanely detailed and nuanced especially in regards to the intricate melodies presented at every turn. Every listen brings forth an array of new elements to appreciate and enjoy. Such is the power of an album from one of Iceland’s most promising young ensembles.
Sinmara is a relatively young group in the black metal sphere. However, age is obviously no obstacle here. Sinmara shows a stunning level of expertise and emotional intelligence for a band that is seemingly just hitting their stride. Even giants of the genre would be hard-pressed to produce more alluring, delicious evil than what Within the Weaves of Infinity delivers. At this pace, Sinmara is sure to become one of the most powerful, soul-destroying musical forces in recent history.