Since 2012 Zakaz have been an ominous presence in the Icelandic black metal scene, but never have they been more vital than in 2020. Following a sidestep that resulted in 2018’s minimalistic dungeon synth album Kvalir, they return with the towering Hof úr Holdi, which redefines what the band are capable of. “I wanted it to combine the melodic content of Myrkur og Dauði (2016) with the harshness of Sjálfsvíg (2016), and make something incredibly positive,” states multi-instrumentalist and sole member I. “I believe that depressive music is healing for the one that is depressed. I know it has saved me from those disharmonic feelings, and I hope others will feel the same while listening.”
The writing process got under way with the song “Forgotten Ancient Past”, which would become the basis for the album. From there, I went on to pen “Upp úr minni þjálu sorg” and “Eilífi Drottinn Holds” through which he mastered the theme of the album, and realised he was on to something special. “It’s hard to describe your own music, but technically the album features a new form of folk songs with a very aggressive twist. All of the songs are transcribable to acoustic guitar/vocal, and genre-wise I would lean towards post-black metal, as there is a lot of post-metal influence.” With songs clocking in at five to eight minutes, it is quite a broad, far-reaching collection, and the epic canvas on which he paints contains a suitably grandiose subject matter, based on the intertwining themes of depression and Icelandic folklore, the title translating to ‘Temple Out Of Flesh’. “It is the notion of being the master of your own reality, your own god of destiny. We are all our own sacred entity and we should nourish and take care of ourselves as followers would with any religious entity.”
The entire album was tracked solely by I with no outside contributions, working in Reykjavik in Studio Krummafótur, a studio built in his childhood home. Working methodically, he tracked one instrument at a time, every song - including lyrics - written before he started. “I usually track guitars first and then track drums with bass, so that the melodic framework is divided from the percussive elements. The hardest part was mixing for sure, the guitar sound was a challenge, and when making something unique it requires alternative methods”. I also exerts control over the album artwork, which ties intricately into the themes of the record. “As an avid sacred geometry fanatic it has a lot of meaning to it. The Hendecagram signifies the natural (the flesh), as it has been shown that prisms of Hendecagrams approximate the shape of the DNA molecule. The Pentagon above the dual triangles signifies the rigid/unnatural (the temple). Together they form a harmony that is Hof úr Holdi.”
With plans to play shows in support of the record commencing in June 2020 and ambitions to tour Europe, I is also already looking ahead to what comes next musically for Zakaz. “I think the next material will be even more different from this one. It will be a natural evolution.”
released March 24, 2020
I - All Instruments
Recorded, mixed and mastered at Krummafótur Studio, Reykjavík Iceland.
Upp úr minni þjálu sorg
Upp úr minni köldu gröf,
Ég vakna upp og fagna
Ég vakna upp og sakna þín.
Hvar í heimi hvílir sál
Sem öngva snertir lengur,
Hvar í heimi er sú tál
Sem tekur formi báls og dregur að.
Þitt Hof úr holdi
Þitt mikla musteri Satans,
Þín óspillta heilaga sál
Sem brennur í örmum mínum.
Hvar í heimi býr sú sorg
Sem fylgir manni um óra tíma,
Hvar í heimi er sú borg
Sem geymir alla liðnu tíma.
Hvar í heimi býr sú ánauð
Sem setur allt og alla í fjötra,
Hvar í heimi er sú gnauð
Sem glymur hátt og lætur gnötra.
Dauðir þramma hinn þrönga gang
Troðast á eftir þinni hönd
Hinir ókleifu hamrar Dranga
Hleypa engum upp og gleypa alla.
Hamrar slá taktinum fastar
Högg eftir högg
Hjartað slær taktinum fastar
Slag eftir slag
Hvar í heimi er sú ímynd
Sem líkist friði á bak við ótta,
Hvar í heimi er sú auðlind
Sem frelsar mönnum frá flótta.
...Hið mikla ljós á endanum, á botninum
Track Name: EILÍFI DROTTINN HOLDS
Eitthvað sem þú sagðir mér
Þegar ég var of ungur til að skilja,
Heyrði allt sem ég vildi
Og hugsaði með mér:
"Ég mun aldrei gera;
En hér er ég,
Með troðfullar hendur
Af þrá og eftirsjá.
Ég er hér enn
Þótt margstunginn í bakið
Ég horfi fram á við
Ég skil ekkert eftir
Ég geri það sem ég vil.
Ævafornar rústir fortíðar
Grafa sig upp og endurvekja
Minningar um týnda tíma,
Tíminn bregst og endurtekur sig
Stoðir veruleikans svigna
Af svikulum gjörðum þínum.
Tómarúm kulda og myrkurs
Veittu mér þinn styrk
Eilífa gyðja ljóss,
Tímarúm hið dulda angurs
Hneigðu þig og krjúptu
Eilífi Drottinn Holds.
Track Name: FORGOTTEN ANCIENT PAST
Fragility of existence enters my mind.
I seek the answers for my being.
Foundations of an ancient past,
long lost and forgotten.
I know that you are my answer.
The cold, dark, endless wormhole,
That holds the truth of death and the living.
I see you, entering in.
...og skyndilega þagnaði allt
er ég sá þín grásvörtu augu,
í þjáningu þú hvíslaðir að mér
leyfðu mér að sofna hér.
Þín nærvera andar að mér
Þú missir mátt er ég held á þér
Í hinsta sinn sofðu núna,
dragðu þinn síðasta anda.
Track Name: UNBROKEN WE STAND
Trembling, the sunset withers past.
Seeking, long lost winter nights
hoping, my visions will find you at last.
We were one, we were true.
We hunted, we gathered, we lived.
Unbroken we stand, forever.
Darkness closes in, mystical goddess.
Pulling us in, under her veil.
The suffocating hand, holding command.
Your presence fades,
As I hold you in my arms.
Asleep you rest,
As you take your last breath...
Track Name: SHADOWS THAT YOU CAST
I received a prize
A kiss on my neck from two burning lips
Too late I realize
How much it was worth, off my skin it slips
It flickers and dies
Just like those you cast away
Please just let the grass
Cover up my flesh til my heart's asleep
Time is meant to pass
Everything to lose and nothing to keep
You'll find out at last
Why your friends could never stay
Got to pick an eye
To offer the gods to become a king
I'm still gonna cry
I'm still gonna see it was for nothing
Everything's a lie
Until we return to clay
You struggle, you strive
Somehow still afloat on your frail ideal
How do you survive
When depression taints everything you feel
Let it go and dive
Deep into the ocean grey
Give up on your pride
Your ego's a chain that just weighs you down
On the tiny one that would wear the crown
You cannot decide
Which way leads you to decay
Shadows that you cast
Make you feel so small in a world so cold
Finding peace at last
You stand all alone and you feel so old
Glimpses of the past
Fade into another day
Breaking off the ties
Off with all the guilt, off with all the shame
Off with all the lies
Shake it off, you will never be the same
Comes as no surprise
As you watch them burn away
Track Name: ECHOES OF YOUR EXISTENCE
Emptiness fills my heart,
Sorrowful screams rips through my lungs.
Echoes of your existence,
Slowly rotting away.
I will no more, be the harbinger
I will no more, be the keeper
In a lucid dream
I see you all
In propitious scream
At the Empires fall.
Track Name: HOF ÚR HOLDI
Ég er eldurinn sem brennur burtu fortíð
Ég er öxin sem sker í sundur fjötra
Ég er ísinn sem læknar öll þín svöðusár
Ég er beinin sem að ösku munu verða
Ég er ekkert að engu og varða að neinu: Hof úr holdi.
Sárin eru farin
Biðin er á enda
Ég mun ekki blæða
Ég mun ekki bíða.
Hin hljóða sorg, situr yfir skógi.
Hinir miklu Hamrar, halda uppi himni.
Hin fullkomna þögn, ég staldra við
Hvað er hið endanlega svar?
Ég spyr hið djúpa myrkur
Hljóð berst úr rökkrinu og segir :
Ekkert sem lifði
Ekkert sem dó
Ekkert sem Geymdist
Ekkert sem vó
Við hina magnþrungu á
Við hina yfirgnæfðu þögn
Ég finn andardráttinn slakna
Ég finn hljóðið magnast.
Því hverfur og endar allt...
Svartholið myndast og myrkrar að
Haldinu er sleppt... og mér er kalt.
Cosmic and euphoric ambiences engaging with a consistent intensity.
Music that lifts you up enough to behold, nonetheless to surrender and to contemplate the greatness of the universe with gratitude and pride. SHVGVR