Slidhr – “The Futile Fires Of Man” (Ván Records)
Although rooted in Ireland thanks to multi instrumentalist tattooist founder Joseph Deegan, there’s a whole lot more to Slidhr that has taken form over the years. At one time half of cult black metal group Myrkr, collaborations with Rebirth of Nefast soon led Slidhr to the land of fire and ice – Iceland – whereupon Deegan forged today’s present day trio with bassist Garðar S. Jónsson and drummer Bjarni Einarsson, both formerly of Almyrkvi and Sinmara. With a name drawn from Norse mythology, expect a strong emphasis on Germanic heathenism, dark natural phenomena, occultism, satanism and a continuing existential perspective on humanity, with Slidhr’s music matching in both its darkness and depth. Driven in the main by Deegan’s intense metallic clanging guitar work unleashing both melancholic despair as well as melodic bliss, the massive rhythm of heavy bass and especially furious drumming ensures that despite being a trio, the 6 ample tracks on this sophomore are of epic proportions rich in both their charged atmosphere as well as undeniable musical possession. With Deegan’s harsh vocals and drawls adding the final touch, “The Futile Fires Of Man” is nothing short of an ‘experience’ – and then some! It’s worth bearing in mind that the material here isn’t one of these studio engineered wonders given Slidhr’s touring since 2016, including a stint at the Inferno Festival in Norway, and definitely make for the slick and tight performances here, with the added assurance of being able to repeat the same awesome intensity live! From the burgeoning ‘Summoning The Rivers’ with its bountiful soundscape resplendent with twisting riffs and catchy clanging melodies, the occasional tone down in power only adds to its mesmerising brilliance as Deegan’s savage drawls hook you in all the more, refusing to let go of your miserable soul heh heh. The influence of Iceland’s far out landscape is truly evident on ‘Rise To The Dying’, with its tumultuous ups and downs all the while subjected by Einarsson’s relentless pounding and cymbal crashing as Deegan’s haunting vocals and deep roars add even more to this disturbing song, both sonically and spiritually. As if on a final trip to Hel ‘Through The Mouth Of The Beast’ couldn’t be more exemplary being feral black metal at its most ravenous, yet all the while using captivating melodies to almost psychedelic levels concluding this truly fantastic trip in this masterful labyrinth!