02 Northern Wind
03 1000 Years of Captivity
04 Old Temples of Pagan Gods
05 The law of Nature
06 Pagan Land
07 Waiting for the Storm
Well, for once I am heavily intrigued.. The band named after the worlds 18th largest island is quite hard to locate and had I not received it ready for review it would have remained frozen in mystery.. However Old Temples Of Pagan Gods is one of those rare albums that bring a big grin to my face each time I put it in my recorder and it is now a treasured gem. Trying to find Old Temples Of Pagan Gods should prove hard though since the presumed and utterly shifty label that should supply the albums seams to have purged all records of them except for one post on Facebook and googlingthe band name will most likely result in a lot of information of the Viking outpost in the Atlantic ocean.. And so the plot thickens..
The music can only be described as a weird mixture of pagan themed black metal with death/doom vocals and a great dose of heart. You should already know if you like this album when the first song Slawa with its slowly building intro of finely balanced guitars and drums that grows to a slow and thundering crescendo slowly dims out. Personally I was sold on 1000 Years of Captivity, a strong and bombastic song that somehow reminds me in parts of that sleeping giant of a band called Bal-Sagoth. The guitars are playful and the melodic parts are always mixed with perfectly matched orchestrations that never take over yet stay delicately in the background. The vocals are awesome and delivered with such and brutish ferocity that you can almost depict the lead singer to be a shape-shifted Werebear of legends. The lyrics, I bloody love the lyrics.. They are in certain ways so epic, cheesy and powerful that the concoction really gets stuck inside the brain in a good way and blend perfectly with the rest of the experience. Songs such as 1000 Years of Captivity, The Law of Nature and Waiting for the Storm are instant classics and since I don’t know much about the band besides them being from Poland and containing some members from an equally obscure band called Pure Hate I am really not sure who this beast is praising here.
Overall Iceland delivers a pure and delicate act of brutal pagan metal that hits you in the face axe first. The composition, the mixing and the overall sound is extremely good and well balanced and the only real critique about this act is that they are bloody hard to get a hold on. If you by any chance get a glimpse of this black gold collecting dust somewhere you should do yourself a favour and confiscate it immediately. This might not be the Mozart of black metal but the awesome composition, the great lyrics and the pure greatness of the barbarian black metal should be enough to quench the thirst of the most dehydrated of warriors. I tip my hat to the band Iceland and wish that they will deliver more of their delightful battle metal in a near future, until that time I will enjoy Old Temples Of Pagan Gods like an aged whisky, raw and a plenty..