It’s been three years since seminal Reykjavík metalcore band Celestine hung up their gloves after playing a final show in the late Faktorý. Since then the scene has changed, with new faces and new bands stepping up to fill the void. Much like Mínus, Celestine’s influence runs deep, and it is only appropriate that two frontrunners from the grassroots join them for their reunion concert.
The audience is equally composed of long haired rockers and buzzcut punks, with a refreshingly equal mix of genders. The vast majority is composed of twenty-somethings, but a few older geezers sip their beer patiently, waiting for the main show to start.
Grit Teeth start playing a few minutes after they said they would, and get a mosh pit started from the very first song, with the singer saying at one point: “if nobody gets knocked out in this mosh pit, I’ll be disappointed.” They earn their applause with dynamic guitar riffs and heaps of volatile energy. And they tell the police to fuck themselves. For me, however, the show is eerily reminiscent of the one they put on last week with ITCOM. Also, I get a lot of beer spilled on me. Oh well, rock on.
Great Grief, formerly Icarus, give a good contrast to Grit Teeth, offering a more measured tempo and layered instrumentals. The live performance also matches the music, with band members bouncing around the stage with reckless abandon as the pace picks up. Singer Finnbogi Örn Einarsson throws his full body into the performance as he screeches away, gasping for air in between howls, and banging the microphone on his head until he starts bleeding profusely. Then he bangs it some more. There are fewer mosh pits, and their lifespans are shorter, but there is plenty of headbanging. The final song is a heavy and sombre one about disappointment, dragging you down into the undercurrent until you can’t breathe.
Speaking to Finnbogi after their set, he tells me it’s inspired by a friend of his who came out of an abusive relationship that had a religious element to it.
When Celestine step up, the audience has peaked—they’re warmed up and ready to go, and Celestine do not disappoint. Right from the get go, their loud and aggressive music gets sweaty bodies clashing violently. They carry hardcore history on their shoulders, and it is on full display. “Lots of new faces, lots of old faces, we welcome them all,” says the singer in between songs.
The show is an absolute monster, with ample heavitude, thumping and booming riffs, pounding drums, and plenty of screechy shouting; heck, there’s even a cover of Nirvana’s “Negative Creep” in there for good measure. When the band pauses for an encore, the crowd all but collapses from exhaustion, mustering up a feeble attempt at clapping them back up on stage. The night ends with 66-second whirlwind of a song “Speaker Bomb,” with guest vocals by Krummi.
One by one, the crowd stumbles out into the cold and dark night, hopefully as filled with inspiration and gratitude as I am.