Phil Elverum’s run under the Mount Eerie moniker has been prolific and unpredictable, going from quiet, noble folk to retching black metal-style assaults, sometimes within the confines of the same record. That idea also colors his latest album “Sauna,” a bustling, frosty, fiery record that never shows its hand as to where it is heading next.
Said to be inspired by “Vikings, Zen, and real life,” Elverum throws a lot at you on this 12-track, 55-minute opus. From the excellent, arresting opening title cut that rages for 10 minutes, he goes from wintry keys to sinister drone to dreamy, choral sections, later
admitting, “Life is a small fire I carry around.”
From there, he hits crunchy, blurry rock on “Turmoil”; gets somber and doomy on “Emptiness”; unleashes black metal agitation on “Boat”; and brings all of his assorted elements together for one amazing journey on the 13:23 “Spring,” that is a total celebration and compete corrosion all rolled into one. (Brian Krasman)