Oh goody gumdrops, we have a new album to go along with this cold and dreary January weather. It’s the second full-length album from Faroese doom metallers Hamferð, and I exaggerate not when I say dreary. Before you really dive into this music, however, I think it helps to have a quick, crash course on some of the elements surrounding it.
According to my super quick research, the band is from the Faroe Islands, a small group of gorgeous islands a little south of Iceland. They derive their band name, Hamferð, from a Faroese word that describes the apparitions of dead and missing sailors appearing before their loved ones back home. Written completely in the Faroese language, Támsins likam is heavily inspired by the solemn nature of the band’s home, its cold winters, and the sea stories that inhabit their culture.
With all of that in mind, you’ll be ready to see just how expertly Hamferð are able to capture that grim atmosphere on Támsins likam. If this is your first soiree with Hamferð, you may recognize their vocalist Jon Aldara, who was recently brought in as Barren Earth’s new vocalist on their 2015 album On Lonely Towers. Gruesome growls and stunning cleans will then inevitably be expected, and Hamferð deliver. I would argue this is the album’s strongest attribute. The introduction of the harsh vocals on the opening track “Fylgisflog” is truly harrowing, and the opening clean melodies on the single “Frosthvarv” were what got me excited to give the entire damn thing a listen to begin with.
But hey, we can’t forget the rest of the well-dressed members. The guitars are heavy as hell, and the bass compliments them in ways that often get overlooked in less capable hands. A full-time keyboardist rides the background throughout the album, remaining subtle, yet necessary to the aura, and the drums…the drums, you guys. I know there’s a “doldrums” pun to be made here somewhere, because that’s what they feel like. The track “Stygd” can just do the talking for me, fuck it.
Támsins likam is like a fog rolling in from the sea. As you watch it from the cliff’s edge, your calm will be sharply cut short as you are pushed to the raging waters below and dashed upon the rocks. But as their name suggests, your ghost will live on only to experience the crippling sorrow of a final goodbye as the closing track crawls to an end. Hamferð may very well be this year’s Talsur for me. Both released unexpectedly good funeral doom albums with nautical themes on the second Friday of January. Let’s see if Támsins likam has enough weight to carry it through the entire year.