How I wish this was released either before or at the same time as Svartidaudi’s Revelations of the Red Sword, for now I cannot help but think that my views of this album have been irreparably coloured by my fondness for Svartidaudi’s most recent opus. The similarities between Hvisl Stjarnanna and Revelations of the Red Sword are remarkable, as they are both massive improvements over each band’s debut albums and they both mine the same dissonant, melancholic black metal terrain using the same methods. At times blistering, at times introspective, I suppose that Sinmara’s effort is the more subtle and less aggressive of the two. In any event, if Revelations of the Red Sword is somewhere between a 9 to 9.5/10, then Hvisl Stjarnanna lands between 8.75 and 9.25/10, meaning that my personal tastes aside, you really should own this album, which stands as one of 2019’s best black metal albums thus far. Now, who do we have to kill to get a new Zhrine or Misthyrming album this year? Icelandic black metal always makes the world a better (darker) place, and we need more of it.
Favorite track: Apparitions.