The United States has always been run by a plutocracy whose power has rarely been challenged in any meaningful way, regardless of which political party happens to be in office. For complex reasons, class warfare has just never really been a serious factor in the civic and political life of the U.S. The big dogs gobble up an ever-increasing share of the pie, and most people don’t ever seem bothered enough by it to rise up politically and demand that their own interests be put first. But as a people, strangely enough, we do like to root for the underdog, and we tend to cheer when the underdog wins. I’m no exception . . . and hence, this story.
Wacken Metal Battle is a globe-spanning competition designed to showcase up-and-coming bands in the world of metal, and this year it celebrated its 10th anniversary. National competitions are now held in 33 countries, with the winner of each national competition journeying to Germany to perform on the first day of the Wacken Open Air festival, playing for all the marbles. And it’s a big bag of marbles, too. Apart from the thrill of getting to play at the world’s biggest metal fest, the winner this year was to receive a world-wide record deal with Nuclear Blast and a shitload of other prizes, such as a Marshall Full-Stack, Washburn guitars, and Paise Boomer cymbals (the whole list of prizes can be seen at this page).
For the first time in 2012, the Faroe Islands joined the Metal Battle competition. The Faroe Islands are a country consisting of 18 mountainous islands located in the North Atlantic between Iceland and the rest of Scandinavia. The total population is about 49,000, with nearly half the people living in the capital region of Tórshavn. They are the descendants of Vikings (and Irish), they have their own language, and they have metal (as those of you who know bands such as Týr, The Apocryphal Order, or SiC are well aware).
This year, eight bands competed in the Faroese national Metal Battle event, and the winner was a band named Hamferð. Hamferð made the trip to Germany and took the Wacken W.E.T. stage on August 6 to throw down against bands from throughout Europe, plus countries as far away as China, Japan, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil. And guess who won the whole thing, as their nation’s first-ever competitor in Wacken Metal Battle? That’s right — Hamferð did. Continue reading »