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HAMFERÐ - Támsins Likam

After the fabulous new album of Sinistro, Doom January continues with a band that also sets itself apart from most metal bands via use of "exotic" native language.

Let's face it: Even though you don't hear too many bands singing in Portuguese, there are about 270 million people out there in the world who can understand Sinistro's lyrics. That's almost three times as many as those who can understand German, so there's a huge potential market.

It's probably much bolder to use a language only spoken by 300.000 people, like several bands from Iceland like Sólstafir, Misþyrming or Auðn are doing it. But while Iceland may be one of the most prolific players in the game of culturally exporting its unique features, the true connoisseur of lingual exclusivity turns his attention to that rough island group halfway between Iceland and Norway, where only 50.000 residents speak their own tongue: Enter Hamferð from the Faeroe Islands!

HAMFERÐ - Támsins Likam (LP) (2018)

Hamferð consists of six band members (vocals, two guitars, bass, keyboards, drums), which given the available population is quite a lot of people willing to play this kind of no nonsense / no sunshine music. How uncompromising they are showed back in 2012, when they won the Wacken Metal Battle and with it a Nuclear Blast record deal, but they declined it, instead releasing their debut album on the Faroese label Tutl.

Slow forward five years later their second album just came out on Metalblade.
"Támsins Likam" is a sad and lightless affair. Musically Hamferð are sitting between funeral doom (Loss) and doom death (My Dying Bride, but meaner) with gothic sprinkles, which are never sweet or cheesy, and passages of classic epicness, which must mainly be attributed to singer Jón Aldará, whose voice is truly remarkable and lifts the already compelling arrangements onto another level.

He alternates between strong aggressive death metal grunts and his clear voice, which in somber passages reminds me of Boris Benko from the slovene synth pop band Silence (also appearing on Laibach's "Volk" album), while in full majesty also adding layers of all Candlemass vocalists and the mighty Damian Wilson, and despite all the operatic feel he somehow does it without sounding like a traditional heavy metal siren.
Even though I don't understand a word - the cover artworks hints of Faroese ghost lore, which would be a clear thematic parallel to Bell Witch - the vocals convey so much raw emotion, that not knowing their meaning actually becomes a benefit, because you can project all the more of your own imagination into it. (Which is probably the main reason for enjoying foreign-language lyrics in general.)

Apart from the vocals "Támsins Likam" has no place for showboating. The instrumentalists are all doing a decent job, where everything is in the right place and all is subordinated to the mood and songwriting. This also includes the guest musicians on strings and piano, as well as the choir arrangements.

This album is (emotionally and in death/doom metal terms) heavy and thrillingly dark. It is perfectly rounded and I can't find anything which it leaves to be desired.     

Of course there are lots and lots of doom bands out there today, but in my ears Hamferð's work here has the full potential to become a future classic.

The LP version comes with a lyrics + credits sheet and a poster of the cover artwork. The quality of my vinyl copy is flawless.

Highlights: Vápn í anda, Hon syndrast, Fylgisflog

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