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.