CD review IOTUNN ‘Access All Worlds’

Maybe some of you are already familiar with Iotunn, as it was in 2016 when the guys released their first EP ‘The Wizard Falls’. The release was self-produced and it was a springboard for the band. Metal Blade Records took notice of the quintet from Denmark and after agreeing on a contract nothing stood in the way of recording the debut album.

The story of the band starts in 2009 when guitarist Jesper Gräs wanted to start a 70s space rock band. From this ambition has developed a band that has little to do with the intended space rock, but delivers great music. Iotunn means ‘giant’ in Danish and what the band delivers on their debut album is really big.

In the broadest sense Iotunn can be described as a progressive metal band, but in my opinion this description is too simple. Progressive elements, complexity and songs with more than 10 minutes show the creativity and inspiration of the five guys. However, Iotunn are not afraid of wild musical excursions. As an example, the fast and uncompromising ‘Laihem’s Golden Pits’ is a good example. Wild and merciless riff escapades are accompanied by melodic moments in the chorus. With four minutes the song is the most compact on ‘Access All Worlds’ and contrasts with the epic compositions like ‘Safe the Endless Night’. Listen to these songs reminds of bands like Enslaved and Solstafir, mainly due to the Nordic vibe some of the songs have embedded. Still, Iotunn developed their own sound that makes them stand out from average.

Iotunn follow as said a progressive basic direction, but have incorporated references to epic metal in their sound too. Hard hit guitars, beautiful melodies and the outstanding vocals by Jón Aldará create an atmosphere that carries you away. No matter whether Alará shines with clean vocals or goes into the growling, everything sounds smooth and flawless.

The year 2021 is still young and certainly still has many highlights to offer. Iotunn’s ‘Access All Worlds’ surely belongs to the category ‘highlights’ and is probably already THE debut of the year. The musical maturity, variety and heaviness impresses and tempts to press the ‘Repeat’-button more than once. Wow.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Voyage of the Garganey I
  2. Access All Worlds
  3. Laihem´s Golden Pits
  4. Waves Below
  5. The Tower of Cosmic Nihility
  6. The Weaver System
  7. Safe Across Ehe Endless Night

Label: Metal Blade

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: February 26th, 2021

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Photo: Nikolaj Bransholm

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