Out of the cold and distant shores of Iceland comes Arstidir Liffsins ('the seasons of life') who, under the direction of lead skald Stefen (from Germany), recorded this Jotunheima Dolgferd (which can be loosely translated as "the rogue's path to Jotunheim). It depicts "life in the days of Iceland's settlement, which is presented with all its social and ecological difficulties and not in the misty-eyed way of the Romantic and Victorian Age." Or so I'm told, as I don't understand Icelandic at all.
What it is all about?
Take some black metal roots - think about something around Primordial - and them add folk textures and instrumentations (violins, flutes, etc), ambient parts, clean singing, a few ethereal female vocals, spoken words, samples of natural sounds (gulls and waves and others). Granted, just piling it up does not do this album justice; at least you get a glimpse of it.
But the main word to describe this album is certainly storytelling. The long-winded songs, with all their meandering and their acoustic and/or ambient interludes, do have a real cinematic feel to them. And the use of Icelandic, being so close to the heart of the matter, does add a lot to the atmosphere. It sounds so true and lifelike at times...