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More Amplifiers Than Band Members: The Powerful Doom Metal Of Morpholith

More Amplifiers Than Band Members: The Powerful Doom Metal Of Morpholith

Phil Uwe Widiger
Words by
Photos by
Verði Ljós

Published April 11, 2018

“The concert is held on the occasion of the screening of ‘The Doom Doc’ that we and Godchilla are organising,“ says Hörður Jónsson, guitarist, about the concert that the band Morpholith will play on April 20th at Gaukurinn, along with Godchilla and Kurokuma. The band‘s first EP is also set to be released that same day.

Massive sound

The doom metal band Morpholith was founded in late 2015 and has since played several concerts in Reykjavík and at the music festival Norðanpaunk at Laugarbakki. Unfortunately, there are not many venues that offer the space-capacity that the band needs to perform.

“The sound that you hear on records is never the same that you hear at concerts.”

“It has been difficult to fit all the gear we use onto smaller stages because we have more amplifiers than band members,” Hörður says. “There are at least two for every person that uses amps, and effect-boards that are half a square metre per person as well.”

The reason for all this gear is the sound—it must be powerful. “The sound that you hear on records is never the same that you hear at concerts,” Hörður explains. “It is impossible to record it as if there was an amplifier right in front of you. You will never feel the music the same way listening to it with headphones or on a speaker.” Morpholith always use at least six amps at the same time—sometimes even seven.

“We rehearse with all of these amps running on full volume,” Hörður adds. “We chose powerful and very loud amps along with good fuzz pedals to achieve a constantly massive sound.”

The pop music of extreme music

Morpholith play so-called “stoner doom,” which Hörður defines as the pop music of extreme music. “The music we play is different from most of the death and black metal bands—it’s mostly ’70s rock with a big guitar sound, good singers and a punk-attitude,” Hörður explains.

“The recent years have seen a steady increase in doom metal bands in Iceland.”

“Black Sabbath had the honour of starting this genre in the 70’s and after their golden age other bands took over,” he says. “In the beginning of the ’90s bands like Saint Vitus, Kyuss and Sleep helped make the genre more popular.”

The Icelandic doom metal scene has been through its ups and downs. Plastic Gods were the Icelandic kings of doom for a long time but the band has mostly retired from playing shows. In recent years, however, there has been a steady increase in doom metal bands. Today, bands like Slor, Witchking, Qualia and Godchilla hold up the flag of Icelandic doom.

Doom and more doom

The film ‘The Doom Doc’, which will be shown on April 19th in Bíó Paradís, is a documentary about doom music that focuses on the Sheffield scene in England where the film was shot. “In the film there are interviews with fans and band members of known bands such as Bill Wards, Black Sabbath’s drummer,” Hörður explains.

“The music we play is mostly 70’s rock with a big guitar sound, good singers and a punk-attitude.”

Morpholith and Godchilla are organising this one-time event. The concert featuring these two bands along with Kurokumo, a doom band from Sheffield, will be held the day after on 20th April.

Morpholith’s first EP, ‘Void Emissions’, will be released the day of the concert. It consists of three songs that make up around half an hour of music. According to Hörður, the actual release concert for the record will probably be held in May.

The first song from the EP, “Voidwalker”, can be heard on the band’s Bandcamp. Morpholith have already begun working on their next record. As it gains momentum, the band will certainly shake up the Icelandic the doom metal scene.

Tickets for the film screening can be bought on tix.is.


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