Men Guðs hond er sterk

Hamferð

I feel that the album is a marriage of music and meaning, with each track's themes aligning with the music itself. The album's lyrical content and musical arrangements work in tandem to convey a cohesive message or narrative. This thematic consistency adds depth and resonance to the music, and it's clear that every aspect of the album was carefully considered to ensure that the themes and music complement each other. I haven’t “felt” another album as deeply this year.
March 1, 2024

The narrative concept behind “Men Guðs hond er sterk” is inspired by a harrowing local event: the 1915 whaling disaster off the Faroe Island village of Sandvik, when 14 men died driving whales ashore in the stormy bay. The village population witnessed the tragedy from the seaside. Fittingly, the sad tale has enabled the band to powerfully bring to life the meaning behind their Faroese name, zeroing in on the traumatic emotional force behind this supernatural phenomenon. “When you see someone in hamferð, you see their apparition,” Theodor explains. “Mostly it’s wives with husbands at sea, who’ve seen them dripping wet in the doorframe in the middle of the night. Typically in folklore it’s a warning that something bad will happen, and there are several documented episodes of this happening in Sandvik in 1915. So it’s kind of full circle for us.”

The album has eight songs, and “Ábær” is first. The opening tones are low and crushing, and a gruesome scene is painted, indeed. The harsh vocals are guttural, but the cleans are melodic and emotional, and the guitars are choppy at times and free flowing at others. “Rikin” is slower in pace, so that you can feel the suffering of the men who drowned, as well as see their silhouettes when you least expect them. The melodies are quite intricate, and the clean vocals soar far above the ghastly scene where it happened. “Marrusorg” is more delicate and emotional, with differing vocal approaches, although all of them are clean. There is also a darkness here that spreads like shadows as the sun wanes overhead.

“Glæman” seems to be the song where the tale turns. The reality of what happened really start to sink in, and the aching of the witnesses is felt within them. They cry out to the Gods, to anyone who will listen, but no voice is returned. “Í hamferð” has a stormy entrance that is capped with pensive clean vocals and a wicked hatred from the harsh vocals. The storm begins to pick up at the end, to the point that you almost can’t see, and then suddenly everything goes black. “Fredreygar” represents to me picking up the pieces of your life after a tragedy. You don’t even know where to begin, and just feel lost in everyday tasks. The feeling intensifies until it nearly crushes you by the end. “Hvølja” is cumbersome, and lumbering, and the fuzz of the guitars and guttural vocals almost stop time itself. It paints many of the horrors of this tragedy, and things that witnesses will not soon be able to get out of their mind.

 “Men Guðs hond er sterk” closes the album. It’s when things begin to return to normal. The vivid images are gone, for the most part, but the unsettling images remain. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, these images never go away, they just fade a little in time. Overall, I feel that the album is a marriage of music and meaning, with each track's themes aligning with the music itself. The album's lyrical content and musical arrangements work in tandem to convey a cohesive message or narrative. This thematic consistency adds depth and resonance to the music, and it's clear that every aspect of the album was carefully considered to ensure that the themes and music complement each other. I haven’t “felt” another album as deeply this year.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

Songwritting

9

Musicianship

9

Memorability

9

Production

9
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"Men Guðs hond er sterk" Track-listing:

1. Ábær

2. Rikin

3. Marrusorg

4. Glæman

5. Í hamferð

6. Fendreygar

7. Hvølja

8. Men Guðs hond er sterk

 

Hamferð Lineup:

Jón Aldará – Vocals

Theodor Kapnas – Guitar

Eyðun í Geil Hvannastein – Guitar

Jenus í Trøðini – Bass

Esmar Joensen – Keyboards

Remi Kofoed Johannesen – Drums

 

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