Aug 252014


Azoic at Eistnaflug

(Gemma Alexander is a Seattle-based writer and NCS fan who visited Iceland in the fall of 2012 during the Iceland Airwaves festival and was generous enough to send us interviews with such bands as AngistBeneathKontinuumSólstafirGone Postal, and Skálmöld. In July of this year she returned to Iceland for the Eistnaflug metal and rock festival (“Eistnaflug” being Icelandic for “flying testicles”), and we are once again the beneficiary of her writing. Today we present Part 1 of a three-part report on the festival, illustrated with Gemma’s own photos. Visit her own excellent blog here and check out more of her reporting on the festival at KEXP’s web site.)

 

When I arrived in the remote fjord town of Neskaupstadur, I was determined to catch as many of the nearly 50 bands as possible. But a late night drinking with new friends and a breakfast that may have included beer interfered with my good intentions. Although the first band on Thursday didn’t take the stage until almost 3 p.m., I missed them.

The first band I did see was Azoic. With Ragnar (Raggi) Sverisson on the drums, I expected great things, and got them. What I didn’t get was vocals – it was an entirely instrumental set.

I ran into Raggi later and he explained that the set was all new music, and they hadn’t finished the lyrics yet. Okay, that’s one choice. Azoic’s 2012 Gateways can be found here:

Sep 032013

This is a round-up of new songs and videos that debuted over the last 24 hours. There is a unifying theme to what I’ve selected: Although the styles of metal range from rampaging black metal to the sublime weight of doom, darkness pervades the sounds.

NECROPHOBIC

Only yesterday we posted Part 1 of Andy Synn’s review of the recently completed SUMMER BREEZE festival in Germany. It included words of praise for the live performance by Sweden’s Necrophobic. And today brought us the North American premiere of the first single from this influential band’s new album Womb of Lilithu, their seventh studio album and the first one in four years.

The new track is “Splendour Nigri Solis” and it’s now streaming at Spotify (here), though because it debuted in Europe earlier, it has also made its way to YouTube. It’s a thumping, thrashing, swirling whirlwind of black metal vehemence (with imperious, cleanly-sung, off-tempo sections that are as cool as the speedy parts).

May 312012

Here on the last day of May, I decided to christen the month Iceland Metal Month at NCS (see today’s first post).  Since we’ve wrtten about 8 Icelandic metal bands so far, it seemed like the logical thing to do. And having gone that far, I decided we ought to go further and bring the total to an even dozen. So, here we go . . . four more bands worth getting to know from a country that’s starting to seem close to Finland in the ratio of killer metal bands per capita of population.

BENEATH

I found out about this Reykjavík band while doing a little research on Ophidian I, who I included in that earlier post about Icelandic metal today: It seems that guitarist Unnar Sigurðsson is a member of both bands. It further appears that drummer Ragnar Sverrisson is also a member of another awesome Icelandic band, Atrum (who we’ve written about more than once in the past).

Beneath’s line-up solidified in late 2008, and in 2009 they won the Wacken Metal Battle contest in Iceland, thereby becoming the first Icelandic band to perform at the Wacken Open Air festival in August 2009. They released a debut EP titled Hollow Empty Void on Mordbrann Musikk in 2010 (it’s available on iTunes), and they’ve finished recording a debut full-length, Enslaved By Fear. That album will be released on July 17 by the dependable Unique Leader label. The eye-catching album cover was done by Raymond Swanland.

Now, about their music . . .

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