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: Continue reading »

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.


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. Continue reading »

May 282012

(We’ve been discovering a lot of good new Icelandic bands recently, and Azoic is the latest. In this post, Phro reviews their debut album, Gateways.)

So, this evening, I opened up my e-mail inbox at PhroMetal (shameless self promotion alert) to find a message from…Iceland? Wow, that’s pretty cool. I don’t know anyone in Iceland. I’m pretty sure I’d have a hard time just trying to find it on a map. (I’m really bad at cartography.)

Anyway, the e-mail was from a band called, Azoic. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like the kind of noise that the Joker would make if he accidentally inhaled a balloon filled with laughing gas after being punched in the gut by Batman. They were nice enough to ask me to review their new album, Gateways. (I’m not sure if they’ve read anything I’ve written before, because, really, if they had, they’d probably know better than to send me anything besides death threats. But they included a download link, so, hey, I’m not complaining.)

The e-mail called them a black/death metal band. I think that’s pretty accurate, though also functionally vague. (Which really isn’t their fault. Genre labels are important and helpful most of the time, but once we start breeding subgenres with subgenres, we usually end up with mutated bastard children who have difficulty establishing personalities beyond what their parents gave them.) So, we’re gonna have to get our fingers poopy and talk about this album from the butthole out. (That means we’re going deep, hard, and probably somewhat uncomfortably.) Continue reading »