Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Sinmara’s Hvísl Stjarnanna and Boulevard Brewing Company’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale.
The Metal: Sinmara’s Hvísl Stjarnanna
Upon its inception, the Reykjavik scene was composed of a core group of bands that all sought to push the boundaries of black metal by incorporating psychedelic dissonance and an occult atmosphere into their sound. This was what drew me towards Icelandic black metal to begin with, but what keeps me coming back, is just how all of these acts have grown and matured over time, expanding the pallatte of the scene into exciting territories, whether that be Zhrine evolving from their Gone Postal days to a more death metal influenced take on the Icelandic black metal hallmarks, Almyrkvi incorporating clean vocals and a Godflesh-meets-The Ruins of Beverast approach to their cosmic black metal, or Svartidaudi growing more fierce and feral by trimming down their once sprawling compositions. No band from Reykjavik and beyond embodies the growth of the scene more for me than Sinmara, however, and the band’s second full-length album and Ván Records debut Hvísl Stjarnanna, shows them stepping out into their fully realized sound with absolute confidence. Following the path set out with the band’s split with Misthyrming and the Within the Weaves of Infinity EP, Hvísl Stjarnanna (translated into English as ‘Whispering Stars’), is Sinmara at their most affecting, rounding out the straight-ahead aggression of their Aphotic Womb era with haunting, ghostly flourishes of melody that lift the compositions to new heights. The changes the band have made to their sound over time are perhaps more subtle than other acts in the scene, but the way Sinmara manage to craft a balance of aggression, beauty, and misty atmosphere on tracks like “Crimson Stars” and “Úr Kaleik Martraða” shows just how much power the constantly evolving Reykjavik scene puts into their art. This is a high water mark for black metal this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on many year end lists, my own included.
The Booze: Boulevard Brewing Company’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
Man does it feel good to be able to drink alcohol again. We’re picking right back up where we left off after last week’s bout of the flu with a little something from Kansas City, MO’s Boulevard Brewing Company. Tank 7 is not a subtle drink, bringing the sweetness and fruity complexity of a Belgian farmhouse ale to the forefront. This yeast-heavy brew is syrupy sweet on the tongue, with a big punch of bubblegum in the front that fades into soft, just slightly tart fruit on the finish. The strong flavors and high ABV (8.5%) make this drink pack a punch, but if you love farmhouse ales, this gives you everything you want to the highest degree.
Cheers, and be good to each other,