Album Review: GLERAKURThe Mountains Are Beautiful Now
Prophecy Productions has one of the most impressive rosters in the business these days. Their eclectic mix of black metal, ambient artists and dark folk pioneers means that every release they put out is a brainy adventure through some of the stranger sides of underground music. This latest offering from Icelands GlerAkur, is just another example of this. The black and doom metal inspired ambient explorations of The Mountains Are Beautiful Now makes for an emotionally powerful listen that demands attention. There is a mesmerizing sense of majesty to be had here and diving in with both feet into the world of composer Elvar Geir Saevarsson is an incredibly rewarding experience. As weird, spaced out and trippy as this record might be, it’s impossible to deny that GlerAkur has conjured up something surprisingly human here. The brooding journey of this record is utterly transcendent and the subtle hints at Scandinavian culture and music only serve to flesh out an album which gives a fascinating new dimension to the genre.
The sheer scope of GlerAkur is what really fascinates me about the band. While this is, at its core, ambient music from an Icelandic composer influenced by underground metal there are a lot of other weird things that wind their way into the music. For example, the heartbeat pulse on ‘Strings’ provides a fitting underscore to a moody and ethereal arrangement. In many ways it’s the quality of the production and the mix that make the album so great. The incredible sense of presence behind The Mountains Are Beautiful Now makes it a record that you desperately need to spend more time picking apart to understand. The landscape beautifully portrayed on the cover of this record seems to serve just as much as a musical inspiration as it is a visual one and the sounds of this record are the sounds you would imagine as the soundtrack to wandering through Saevarssons harsh Scandinavian soundscapes. Sure things are often stripped down to their core elements, but they are surprisingly lush in their simplicity. It’s the almost spiritual power of the compositions that matters here, not the individual ideas themselves.
So I invite you to join me in getting lost in the magic of GlerAkur. Sure the mountains are beautiful, but so is the goddamn music. When you consider this to be just as much a testament to Saevarssons homeland as it is to the power of sound, you start to grasp what the artist was really going for. This is music that pushes through the murk, and though it may at first be alienating, when you take the time to pick it apart the post rock majesty of it all becomes clear. Sure this isn’t an album to ‘get’ on first listen and it’s not necessarily a great introduction to the genre, but it is impossible to deny its charm. It’s something that you can almost taste and which you will fall in love with if you give it a chance to grow on you. The Mountains Are Beautiful is everything a label like Prophecy should stand for and music we can all be entranced with.
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September 26, 2017 at 08:22PM