Icelandic smashers Mannveira finally rise, deliver mangling black metal with ‘Vitahringur’

There’s an ominous aura behind the idea of “awakening a sleeping giant,” a saying that dates back to World War II and at the time meant that the United States had been provoked into joining the fight. However, we can use that saying today for something a lot less destructive from the standpoint of human lives lost and instead put that weight behind a band that’s finally showing its beastly power.

Icelandic black metal force Mannveira, have been around for a little more than a decade now, but we’re finally getting their debut full-length record “Vitahringur” 11 years after the project came to be. The world got something of a taste of what they had in them on a 2014 EP and a split effort in 2016 alongside Ellorsith, but this five-track, 35-minute crusher is the real indication of what this machine is capable of doing, and it’s clear they’ve spent their silence sharpening their blades. This band—vocalist Illugi, guitarists Örlygur and Sindri, bassist Óskar, drummer Jón—brings caustic and devastating power, a force that adds to their homeland’s impressive array of heavy bands, proving they are as hungry and bloodthirsty as the rest of them. Maybe more so.

“Ópin rjúfa þögnina” opens with dark blasts and guitars stinging as gruff growls march, and disorienting melodies cause your head to spin. The pace then picks up as the playing gets nastier, shoving you in the mud as the track drowns out. “Í köldum faðmi” bubbles up front before weird grunts greet you, and beastly wails signal the coming savage assault. That brutality eventually turns more atmospheric before things get animalistic, with guttural howls peeling back flesh. The guitars get airy but still open wounds, fury and mysticism unite, and things crush to a static-filled finish.

“Vítahringur” starts spacious as the guitars open, with the storm looming. Slow-driving misery pivots into vocals scraping and black melodies flooding and flowing. The track keeps gaining momentum as the guitars swim through psychological weirdness, and then raw growls punch their way in, leading the track to its noise vortex resting place. “Framtíðin myrt” lets growls escape as a numbing pace picks up the momentum, and the guitars tangle. Things feel properly hypnotic at times, bringing immersive calm, but then the rains crash down again. Leads gush melody, the growls scar, and everything fades into a nightmare. Closer “Kverkatak eilífra martraða” is disorienting as it begins as growls wrench, and a dizzying aura takes hold. The vocals go for the throat as the band begins trucking hard, and the growls turn to roars. Things slow and get disorienting, giving off an intoxicating vibe, and all of that dissolves into the atmosphere, disappearing forever.

I’ve never been to Iceland, but I imagine that majestic nature of the place would be in direct contrast with the misery-inducing, mangling black metal that Mannveira presents on “Vitahringur.” This is a devastating, molten record that feels like it sends lava flowing through your bloodstream, leaving you in abject torture. The atmospheric elements are disarmingly sinister, the heaviness bludgeons, and this band leaves you heaving in a pile of sweat and piss.  

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/mannveira

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

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