Nov 262014

 

For four days I’ve been on the other side of the country from my home in the Seattle area, and I’ll be working here for 10 more days. It’s one of those projects that engulfs me periodically, a night-and-day kind of thing that squeezes my blog time down to acorn size. I did make room late last night for some exploring and found the following new music I thought you might like. I sure as fuck did. Presented in alphabetical order by band name.

DYSANGELIUM

The German black metal band Dysangelium have a new album on the way from W.T.C. Productions. The title is Thánatos Áskēsis, it’s due for release on December 24, and it’s available for order here. I haven’t yet listened to the entire album, but I did catch Decibel’s premiere of one of the new songs yesterday, and have really been enjoying it.

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/

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.

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.

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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.

Jun 072012

To be clear, I’m not actually adventuring in the actual country of Iceland, though I wish I were, because it seems like a fascinating place, and even if the landscape turned out to be less dramatic than it looks in photos, I feel pretty sure I could get my head whomped pretty hard by some live metal.

No, the adventuring in this post is following up on some new music from a couple of bands we featured on our impromptu Iceland Metal Month series last month. One of the bands is Ophidian I, who we wrote about here. The other is Beneath, featured in this post. They’ve both started streaming additional tracks from their forthcoming albums, and the new songs are slaughtering me, in a good way — the kind of slaughtering where body parts come off and you eat them with the music ringing in your earholes and you realize that you don’t taste half bad despite what you might have thought.

Also, since I’m back on the subject of Iceland, I thought I might as well throw in some music from another band we haven’t covered yet. It’s not an Icelandic band. They’re actually from New York, but they recorded a new two-song 7″ at “Sundlaugin”, a studio in Mosfellsbær, Iceland, owned by the band Sigur Ros. (The session was engineered by Birgir Jón “Biggi” Birgisson.) The band is called Self Defense Family, and the music is a big, sweeping left turn away from our well-traveled path around here — but it has managed to sink its hooks in me. Maybe it will hook you, too.

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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