I’m getting close to my thirtieth year and as such I should not be interested in music that screams and pounds on the eardrums. I should by now be interested in the classics and maybe progressive jazz music. But I’m not. That means that every time I get asked about my taste in music I have to apologise as if I had said that I liked playing with Fisher Prize toys.
The whole thing started during my early teens, in the early nineties, when there was a scene here because death metal had hit our shores and every teen, including myself, let his hair grow long and started a band. Then every talent contest and teen show was full of these bands but in a year or two everyone, to every parents´ great relief had cut their hair and sold their CD’s in exchange for less brutal material to listen to. There were few that kept on listening to this music and even fewer who kept on grinding their instruments for the express purpose of producing brutality and mayhem.
For a long time the band Forgarður Helvítis (Front Porch of Hell) was the only one actively playing a death metal related genre (actually theirs would categorise as grindcore, which is similar to death metal, only faster and crazier) but at the end of the nineties there was something of a revival when kids started contacting this band and asking for demos. Siggi, the lead singer, was happy to give it to them and then the scene grew bigger with more kids coming in. The activity is enormous because there are people releasing their material on their own and importing their favourite bands.
Although the huge success of this genre pleases me immensely it also puzzles me because to me, this should have been the case back when I myself had long hair, playing death metal singing about “hell and locust swarming the once holy grounds” (a fragment of a lyric from my teen band Dysentery). I decided to talk to Siggi Pönk (Siggi the Punk) about this. I had previously read an article of his, about how hardrocking music scenes have surfaced every ten years since the early eighties, this one being the third, and I wanted to get his point of view on this latest scene.
“When the new wave punk scene of the eighties was going on I was too young and living too far away to actively participate in the scene, but about ten years later during the early nineties my band was starting and I was a participant in the scene as a member of one of the bands (Forgarður Helvítis). Back then it was all about being cool through the brutality and the blood and the gore. Kids were forming their bands copying their death heroes but it wasn’t much more than a fashion statement or a trend that soon fell away and out of style,” says Siggi.
So death-metal… uh, died on account of lack of originality. Siggi says that the reason why he and his friends started a grindcore band instead of death metal was to be a bit more original and maybe this is the reason why they kept on playing. “This time it is different for many reasons. For one the hardcore music style has many different subgenres so even though the kids aren’t listening to the same kind of music they can still feel at home in a hardcore music scene. Therefore there is a constant reproduction of fans coming to replace those dropping out.”
Believe it or not within the scene is a certain philosophy going on that has probably helped keep it alive. The “Do It Yourself” or DIY is an anarchistic idea that enables bands to record their own material and release it on their own, outside the mass production system of the huge record companies. But it is not only that. Pamphlets and underground ´zines are being printed and there is even a website (www.dordingull.com) that every scene member logs onto and participates in an active exchange of ideas.
So to my and many others pleasure the scene is still going strong according to Siggi. There is even is a new venue coming up. De Boomkikker is a place on Hafnarstræti that has a project called “The Gig” allowing bands to play for free. There is no admission fee and it will happen every week. The first show went on last week where Dys, Siggi’s other band, played. “The venue is great” says Siggi when asked about it. “it is really small, so we just removed all the tables and the place was soon packed with hardcore fans and others that I’ve never seen before… which is great because with every new venue comes a group of new faces that helps keep the scene alive.”
So it doesn’t really matter which subgenre of the hardcore is going on at the moment; if it is emo, noise, old-school, new school, grindcore or death-metal… it is all staying alive.