Aug 272014


Eistnaflug revelers.

(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 2 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. Part 1 of her report for us is here and Part 2 is here.)

 

For the few of us who bothered with the hours before – or even slightly after – noon on Saturday, the desperate drunkenness of Friday night had given way to a comfortable morning buzz. Fewer than two dozen made it to the first show of the day at 1 p.m., AMFJ.

Which was too bad. Aðalstein Motherfucking Jörundsson is one barefoot guy at a little table in the middle of the floor. There wasn’t much to see, but there was a lot to hear. The set started out doomy and moved into a rave-worthy beat supporting vocals distorted beyond recognition. It was some killer industrial noise.

https://amfj1.bandcamp.com/

Dec 062012

EDITOR’S NOTE: In May I got on an impulsive kick and wrote about as many Icelandic metal bands as I could find. One of them was Gone Postal, a band who won the Wacken Metal Battle contest in Iceland in March, which gave them the right to perform at Wacken Open Air this summer. Another was Svartidauði, a black metal band whose debut album Flesh Cathedral was recently released n the U.S. by Daemon Worship Productions. I didn’t know there was a connection between these two bands, but as you’ll see, there is.

Which brings me to the thoroughly awesome Gemma Alexander, a Seattle writer and NCS fan who visited Iceland this fall, timing her visit to coincide with the Iceland Airwaves festival. While in Iceland, Gemma generously arranged to conduct interviews of some Icelandic bands for NCS. So far, we’ve posted her interviews of AngistBeneathKontinuum, and Sólstafir. And today, we give you her interview in Iceland  of the following members of Gone Postal:

Nökkvi G. Gylfason (guitar), Ævar Örn Sigurðsson (bass), Þorbjörn Steingrímsson (Vocals, guitar), Stefán A. Stefánsson (drums), and the band’s manager.

Unless otherwise noted, Gemma took all the photographs accompanying. Be sure to read Gemma’s blog about her entire Icelandic trip here.

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Gone Postal closed Iceland Airwaves’ heavy metal showcase at Amsterdam, turning the decent little bar into something unholy with their atmospheric, blackened-death sound and a few sticks of incense.  After the show, Amsterdam staff swept up broken glass while the four members of the band loaded up their gear. A man who introduced himself as their manager grilled me on my journalistic credentials and then hit me up for weed.

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.

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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.

May 312012

I should probably just go ahead and designate May as Iceland Metal Month at NO CLEAN SINGING. So far this month we’ve featured music from Severed Crotch (here), Svartidauði and Vansköpun (here), Azoic (here), and Dynfari (here). Since today is the last day of the month, I thought I’d close it out with three more Icelandic metal bands.

GONE POSTAL

This band from Kópavogur was formed in 2007. They released a debut full-length titled In the Depths of Despair in 2008 through Iceland’s own Molestin Records as well as three subsequent releases, of which Promo II (2011) is the latest.  In March of this year, they won the Wacken Metal Battle contest in Iceland, which will give them the right to perform at Wacken Open Air this summer.

I gather from a few things I’ve read that the band’s style of music through the early releases was a kind of experimental death metal. What I’ve heard are the three songs on Promo II, and those songs instead reflect a pronounced black metal influence. The music is shot through with ripping/roaring tremolo guitars, vicious rhythms, and an air of bleak dissonance. The vocal style flexes between harsh growls and eviscerating shrieks. The production is as raw as a fresh wound. Yet as cacophonous as the music often is, strange melodies ring out through the tidal wash of bile, lending the music a kind of sick fascination.

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