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.


The new song from this band, which will appear on their forthcoming release Solvet Saeclum on SFC Records, is called “Nadir”. It’s a big, booming blast of unpredictable tech-death dissonance in which lead guitars alternately drill holes in your forehead and shimmer like a mirage. Fascinating stuff, just like the last track we featured from Solvet Saeclum.



Beneath’s new song is called “No One Above”, and it will appear on Enslaved by Fear, which Unique Leader Records plans to release on July 17, 2012. It was also recorded at Studio Sundlaugin, where Self Defense Family recorded the single I’m coming to next.

The new Beneath track brings the blunt force trauma with a warlike charge of downtuned death metal, the thundering drum blasts acting like a big meat tenderizer, the bursts of solo guitar searing the meat while keeping it bloody on the inside, the hard-charging riffs carving up the steaks that used to be you into tasty medallions. Hey, I didn’t say you’d need to eat your body parts raw, now did I?



This band used to go by the name End of A Year. Since 2004, they’ve put out three albums and a shitload of splits, singles, EPs, and demos. Their most recent output is a two-song single on the Deathwish label, one song being “Self Immolation Family” and the other being “World Virgins”. As mentioned earlier, they recorded the songs in Iceland as part of what they call their “Island Series”. The first release in that series was a 7″ called I’m Going Through Some Shit, which they recorded at Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston, Jamaica — the one that Bob Marley founded.

I like islands, and I like this Island Series idea a lot. I wonder if Self Defense Family need someone to cart their gear around, or their personal luggage. That can be tiring as you make your way through international airports going to islands. I’ll have to ask them.

Anyway, Deathwish is streaming that “Self Immolation Family” song from the new single. I guess you could label it post-hardcore or post-punk, mainly because it appears this band used to be a hardcore band but also because the song rings with chiming guitars and infectious bass notes to go along with Patrick Kindlon’s raw vocals. The lyrics are raw and black, too. The song, including the extended jam at the back end, wove a spell on me before I realized what was happening.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/46366392″ iframe=”true” /]

Might as well throw in a song from their first Island Series release. This is “I’m Going Through Some Shit”:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/18966561″ iframe=”true” /]

Deathwish is selling the Self Immolation Family release as both a vinyl 7″ and as a digital download at this location.

Finally, I’ll mention that Deathwish has created a free summer sampler that includes a song from this band. Bands included (in order of appearance): Narrows, Oathbreaker, Heiress, Whips/Chains, Rise And Fall, Give Up The Ghost (AN), Loma Prieta, Victims, Birds In Row, Code Orange Kids, Touche Amore, Single Mothers, Living Eyes, Punch, Self Defense Family, Cursed, New Lows, Starkweather, and Deafheaven. There are some excellent bands in that line-up, and others that I suspect are worth getting to know. You can pick up that sampler by visiting this link.


  1. Sororicide is the only Icelandic metal band anyone really needs to know…everything else should be called not Sororicide

  2. That Ophidian I makes some refreshing tech death. Normally I find tech death made by bands that I’m not already a fan of boring and aimless as far as where they’re going with a song. I’m not going to say that this song is entirely with aim, but it succeeded in keeping my attention for longer than normal.

  3. Beneath is really digging their way into my head! I’ll definitely pick up the album when it comes out. Ophidian is really good too, though tech-death album of the year is a position already occupied by Spawn of Possession and Gorod sharing it.

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