Hamferð’s debut EP is one of the biggest surprises of the last few years. Quite an original doom/death metal band that really differs from the typical genre “schools” formed by Katatonia, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride.. from the Faroe Islands?! This is a truly apocalyptic band that delivers slow, menacing doom metal with slight touches of prog and folk here and there. Guitars combine big, down tuned power chords with simple, yet memorable lead guitar melodies. The vocals, alternating between operatic clean vocals and hoarse growls, are absolutely excellent, and perfectly accompanies the rest of the sound scape. I’ve been meaning to review the EP for a while, but it has surely been getting its adequate pile of praise out there. Luckily, they’ve just put out a full length album.
Not much has changed about their overall sound except that there are more clean vocals and less growling on “Evst” compared to the EP. This isn’t a bad thing, since the singer has a gigantic voice that suits perfect over the apocalyptic instrumental work. A good point of reference would be the operatic clean vocals in Mourning Beloveth. There are also slightly more acoustic guitars, something that really brings the dynamics out once the distorted guitars come crashing in again. Another new addition are some tasteful female backing vocals in “Sinnisloysi”. The band seems to have found its individual style early, sounding comfortable enough to only add new details when truly necessary.
One thing from the EP that remains is the excellent percussion. Compared to many competitors in the genre Hamferð rarely plays the typical 4/4 measures that are often practiced in the genre, much due to Katatonia’s “Brave Murder Day”. The drummer is quite inventive and brings an extra dimension that is perfect for the brooding feel of the music. It isn’t as technical as the drumming in Slumber, to name another doom metal band that truly differs in that way, but it perfectly accompanies the songs. It’s very creative while remaining simple and listenable.
And songs? Well, “Evst” doesn’t really have any individual hits that stand out, which in this case is a good thing. This is best experienced as a full album, allowing the atmosphere to truly sink in over time. If this band keeps delivering material of this quality, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become one of the biggest bands in the genre. It would surely be well deserved.