“Access All Worlds” by Iotunn (2021

It’s still a bit early to talk about this but very likely album of the year candidate for me. The feeling when listening to Access All Worlds is very similar to when listening to In Mourning’s Shrouded Devine for the first time. Overwhelmed, delighted and satisfied.
Iotunn offers the perfect mix of melodic death, black metal, progressive metal and space rock. The first point I have to mention is the guitar duo. If you’re a fan of AW, you’ll probably remember me falling in love with While Heaven Wept’s guitar in Suspended at Aphelion. Iotunn makes me feel the same way. They play very progressive, variable, but it’s not the beefy progressive, Dream Theater performance or Symphonic X. It’s soft and open power progressive, with a lot of emphasis on melody. Access All Worlds is very beautiful, the melody is extremely soaring but not long and cheesy. And when needed, Iotunn’s guitar duo gently drop into delicate solos that are not inferior to any progressive metal band.
But Iotunn is more than just progressive metal. They still remind us of our melodic death roots. The heroic finger runs, the heavy riffs of Bathory’s old school black, are played with clear guitar notes rich in emotion. A bit of romantic space rock of the 70s makes Iotunn’s music space become larger and dreamy. Access All Worlds is like a journey into the infinite universe full of mystery and romance.
It would be unfair not to mention the bassist. Iotunn’s production is quite good, the bass is very thick and clear, bringing stability and depth to the album. But the real star must be the drummer. Bjørn Wind Andersen is a monster. Iotunn plays not too fast, even more slow-paced, but somehow Bjorn still manages to put in a series of fast drums and crazy blasts, extremely good and adds even more character. progressive for Iotunn.
The last name to mention is John ALdara. Barren Earth and Hamferd’s vocalist who is familiar with growl had the opportunity to show off his amazing clean vocals. John has a thick voice, with high notes coming out of his throat, echoing, with a bit of a painful uneasiness. John’s clean vocal is between Bruce Dickinson and Roy Khan. It suits the dreamy and vast atmosphere of Iotunn’s universe. Dotted with it are the growl passages of a strong man from a famous old school death band like Barren Earth.
I’ve always been pretty soft on melodic death. Especially bands that know how to renew themselves while still keeping the basic elements of melodeath. Iotunn is such a name. They break down the barriers between genres, playing easy-to-listen music, while still being full of power and erudition.

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