The crystal-clear sorrow. The fear of open landscape full of mist, which soaks the land and the people walking it. The rain which falls over the edge of the cliffs, covering the view. That rain falls for three hundred days a year. We are at the Faroese islands and through the whispering rain, we hear a music so hauntingly full of sorrow that drags us down to the bottom of a rotten grave.
I’ve first seen Hamferđ in the music video ‘Vráin’ and to tell the truth, I stared at those obscure creatures surrounded by the cathedral of Tórshavn in absolute amazement. They were wearing suits they looked as if created by an author of an extremely perverse comics. It looked as if the Blues Brothers got really depressed. I kept waiting, wondering whether it would continue the same terrible way. I had promised my brain filled with the funeral obscurity that, if it would last this music horror, it would be allowed to watch Blues Brother as a compensation for the damage. I don’t even remember which good soul told me: ‘Just listen to it and wait for the moment when that guy starts singing.’ I couldn’t. The sight of the keyboardist, which reminded me of one terrible classmate from my childhood, tortured me. Finally, I decided to stop the video which was ten minutes long. Somewhere around the first minute, one guy in the suit started to scream. That caught my attention and I withdrew my hand from the stop symbol. I thought that if it could get even worse, I might like to see that. I like weird projects. I don’t especially love suits, but I started to feel amused and I took the whole thing as a relatively good joke. When that sight of a funeral sad faces lasted for another minute full of continuous screaming, I wanted to stop the video once more. And then it happened…
That man started to sing. For the first time have I heard Faroese and for the first time have I met Jón Aldará and his voice. Or I’d rather write the Voice, for Jón Aldará has one more living, independent and incredible thing inside him and that thing is his Voice. Sometimes we see Jon and sometimes we see him Voice. His voice is not only perceivable through our ears. We can even see it. Maybe even touch it. It’s a very rare gift, which is born once in a century.
I did not turn the ‘Vrain’ off. What I did was opening a beer and listening to this song over and over again. And Jón’s ability to switch from the frightening scream into that magnificent clean vocal made be believe in the supernatural. It was then that I thought that the Voice has to be independent of the person named Aldará, for something so gigantic and complicated simply cannot squeeze into the man. Human vocal cords can’t be able to produce something like that. That’s simply impossible. Aldará is either a god or a demon. Or he sings on the playback. Oh yes, that must be it. Dear Lord, what a relief… sure, it’s a playback. No one sings like that.
Alas, I’ve seen Jón live here in Prague with the Finnish Barren Earth. The theory of a cleverly done playback singing disappeared and I returned to my previous theory of a supernatural being, which was carried to Faroese island by some mythical whale or something like that. I watched him carefully. For the whole concert, he made two small intonation mistakes, which almost made me cry. Not the mistakes but the fact that otherwise, his performance was flawless. His singing was so brilliant, that he almost tore a spine out of my back and made my eyes glitter with emotion. Which was a very demonic and nasty thing to do.
Jón Aldará’s voice fronted many projects. Apart from Barren Earth, he also appeared in Clouds, a band closer to his own style in its doom way, still Hamferđ simply suits him like a perfect suit. The funeral atmosphere, the rhythm which hardly ever changes, the accented acoustic part and a sophisticated, soft sound of the drums, this all allows the singer to show his abilities. I don’t want this to sound like that Hamferđ is just Jón Aldará and without him, they wouldn’t stand a chance. The singer and the band are strongly linked to each other and they both profit from this symbioses. Hamferđ provides the perfect ground for the Voice. It can sing in Faroese and if there ever had been a language specially created for doom metal, it would be the soft and wonderful Faroese. The music, which resembles the ocean with its small waves which easily changes to the great ones because of a storm, allows the Voice to be the centre of attention. And the listener stands with his mouth open, shivering running down his spine. It’s a naked beauty of a living sorrow, which drives us into showing our inner emotions. The Voice is able to rip them out of us and lives on them. This Faroese vampire wears a clever mask.
On the last album „Támsins likam“, the band used everything they had collected after the release of the previous album ‘Evst’. Their music rises from the Faroese folklore, poetry, literature… and the music itself. And it’s great. The album is more musical and significantly more melodic this time. The band learned how to work with the Voice, surrounded it and framed it quite nicely. Remy Johannesen is more prominent here and he is brilliant. Both guitarists John Egholm and Theodor Kapnas decided to come to the front and they showed that there was more potential in them than anyone would believe. Esmar Joensen sitting behind the keyboards is serious and sophisticated. And finally, Ísak Petersen has a plenty of space, for the bass is the base of the doom metal.
For the first time since the time the band had recorded the „Vráin“, I actually concentrated only on Jón Aldará, but also on the band itself. It has grown and reached such a maturity, I can only bow to them.
Hamferð still consists of weirdos, wearing their suits and ties, singing in the language only a bunch of people in the whole world can understand, their music ringing with the suicidal melancholy. This will never change. They will seek for their listeners in the corners and shadows. This music will touch only those willing to surrender to the power of the Voice and sacrifice the last drop of blood to it. However, anyone who does this and allows the music to drag him into that mad type of beauty, will experience a strange kind of resurrection.