Nov 192012

EDITOR’S NOTE: Seattle-based writer and NCS reader Gemma Alexander happens to be a fan and student of all things Icelandic. After months of planning, Gemma journeyed to Iceland in late October to see the country, and she timed her visit to coincide with the Iceland Airwaves festival, which includes over 420 bands playing all over Reykjavík for five days, plus 400 more unofficial, off-venue performances.

Though Airwaves may be best known as an indie pop fest, it also includes performances by an impressive array of Icelandic metal bands. Knowing of NCS’ own appreciation for Icelandic metal and the attention we’ve paid to Icelandic bands this year, Gemma offered to arrange interviews with several of them. We previously posted her interview of Angist, and today we’re privileged to give you Gemma’s interview of two of the members of Beneath, whose killer debut album was released earlier this year by Unique Leader (featured at NCS here).

Gemma has also been blogging about her entire Icelandic vacation — and it’s wonderful. Do yourself a favor and check it out HERE. And now, here’s Gemma’s interview — with some Beneath death metal at the end.

********

Beneath is fairly new, but the musicians behind the name are some of the heaviest hitters in Icelandic metal. Fronted by Gísli Sigmundsson of the historic Sororicide, with Unnar Sigurðsson of Ophidian I fame on guitar, and with drums provided by Atrum’s Ragnar Sverisson, Beneath came out swinging in 2009, winning Iceland’s first Wacken Metal Battle. An EP followed in 2010, with their first full-length, Enslaved by Fear, released this July. Needless to say, all of the usual metaphors involving blunt force trauma apply.

I was fortunate to meet with Gísli and Ragnar at Dillon Whiskey Bar in Reykjavík before the Iceland Airwaves festival. We talked about the band, their music, and the state of Icelandic heavy metal.

Nov 122012

Angist: Halli (bass), Edda (vocals/guitar), Gyða (guitar), Tumi (drums); photo by Jose Carlos Santos

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes great things happen to you when you least expect or deserve it.  Case in point: We have become acquainted over the ether with a Seattle-based writer and NCS reader named Gemma Alexander, who happens to be a fan and student of all things Icelandic. After months of planning, Gemma journeyed to Iceland in late October to see the country, and she timed her visit to coincide with the Iceland Airwaves festival, which includes over 420 bands playing all over Reykjavík for five days, plus 400 more unofficial, off-venue performances.

Though Airwaves may be best known as an indie pop fest, it also includes performances by an impressive array of Icelandic metal bands. Knowing of NCS’ own appreciation for Icelandic metal and the attention we’ve paid to Icelandic bands this year, Gemma offered to arrange interviews with several of them, and today we’re privileged to give you the first of those — Gemma’s interview of three of the four members of Angist, a very talented band we’ve featured previously at this site.

Gemma has also been blogging about her entire Icelandic vacation — which is still in progress. I’ve been reading her travelogue on a daily basis since it began, and it’s immensely entertaining. Not only is the subject matter fascinating, but Gemma is a superb writer. Do yourself a favor and check it out HERE. And now, here’s Gemma’s interview with Angist — with music at the end.

********

NCS has talked about Angist before, when we were impressed by their EP, Circle of Suffering. Theirs is an impure take on death metal, featuring precision drumming from Ophidian I’s Tumi Snær Gíslason, and vocals that alternate between brutal growls and a banshee black metal shriek. Gyða Hrund Þorvaldsdóttir, and siblings Edda Tegeder Óskarsdóttir and Haraldur (Halli) Ingi Shoshan met me before the rúntur on the Friday before the Iceland Airwaves festival at Reykjavík’s Irish pub, Celtic Cross, to talk about the band and heavy metal in Iceland.

May 282012

(We’ve been discovering a lot of good new Icelandic bands recently, and Azoic is the latest. In this post, Phro reviews their debut album, Gateways.)

So, this evening, I opened up my e-mail inbox at PhroMetal (shameless self promotion alert) to find a message from…Iceland? Wow, that’s pretty cool. I don’t know anyone in Iceland. I’m pretty sure I’d have a hard time just trying to find it on a map. (I’m really bad at cartography.)

Anyway, the e-mail was from a band called, Azoic. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like the kind of noise that the Joker would make if he accidentally inhaled a balloon filled with laughing gas after being punched in the gut by Batman. They were nice enough to ask me to review their new album, Gateways. (I’m not sure if they’ve read anything I’ve written before, because, really, if they had, they’d probably know better than to send me anything besides death threats. But they included a download link, so, hey, I’m not complaining.)

The e-mail called them a black/death metal band. I think that’s pretty accurate, though also functionally vague. (Which really isn’t their fault. Genre labels are important and helpful most of the time, but once we start breeding subgenres with subgenres, we usually end up with mutated bastard children who have difficulty establishing personalities beyond what their parents gave them.) So, we’re gonna have to get our fingers poopy and talk about this album from the butthole out. (That means we’re going deep, hard, and probably somewhat uncomfortably.)

Feb 252012

Last August, NCS writer Andy Synn introduced us to Iceland’s Atrum through a justifiably enthusiastic review of their debut EP, Opus Victim. To quote from Andy’s write-up: “This extreme metal quartet’s music blurs the line between black and death metal, melding them with inspirations and aspirations drawn from classical music, to craft an epic blizzard of blackened fury and ground-shaking death metal heft that recalls a more deathly Keep Of Kalessin wrapped in a cold and venomous shroud of despondency.” In the ensuing Comments, TheMadIsraeli and I added our hearty endorsements. Suffice to say, NO CLEAN SINGING backs Atrum to the hilt.

Last week, as a tune-up for the Wacken Metal Battle 2012 festival in Iceland on the 3rd of next month, Atrum performed on Icelandic national TV, and the song they performed is a new one — “Peasant” — which is destined to appear on the band’s first full-length album, which is in the works.

Atrum won the Icelandic Wacken competition last year, which gave them a slot at the giant Wacken Open Air fest in Europe last summer. They’ll be appearing at this year’s Metal Battle show with the remarkable Solstafir, among other bands.

“Peasant” is a vivid reminder of just how good this band is. It thunders like an avalanche. Get buried by it after the jump.

Aug 232011

(Andy Synn reviews Opus Victum, the debut EP by an impressive Icelandic band called Atrum.)

I’m very happy today to be bringing you a review of this Icelandic band’s stunningly impressive debut EP. I discovered the group after hearing about their recent performance at Eistnaflug, Iceland’s premiere metal festival where they appeared alongside Triptykon, Solstafir and The Monolith Deathcult, holding their own against these impressive acts with refined skill and power.

This extreme metal quartet’s music blurs the line between black and death metal, melding them with inspirations and aspirations drawn from classical music, to craft an epic blizzard of blackened fury and ground-shaking death metal heft that recalls a more deathly Keep Of Kalessin wrapped in a cold and venomous shroud of despondency.

Ymir” opens the record with teasing strains of classical brass that quickly descend into a torrent of hellish blasting and crackling, electrified riffs, evoking barren, storm-lashed landscapes of wind and shadow. Piercing torrents of martial brass penetrate the blackness as the band whiplash back and forth between overwhelming fury and rolling, unpredictable groove, the vocals delivered with bite and conviction – their slithering, venomous delivery accented by guttural expulsions of hate and bile.

The song’s mid-section wears its Emperor influence proudly in its nuanced, shining drum work and imperious keyboard lines, as the band’s multiple vocalists engage in some dark and subtle harmonies. The soaring and impressive solo work that follows is underpinned by an avalanche of kick drums, while the vocals continue to impress both in their versatility and intriguing delivery that recalls a less epic, yet more violent and more unshackled Thebon from Keep Of Kalessin. (more after the jump . . .)

© 2009-2017 NO CLEAN SINGING Banner design by Dan Dubois, background design by groverXIII. Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha