Newcomers on Icelandic Black Metal Scene, Misþyrming (“abuse”) are glorious. They’ve managed to perfect a poisonous mixture of volatile compositions, nihilistic worldview, and a spectacular live performance. Coming across a band like Misþyrming is a rare occurrence—most people go their whole lives without finding a Misþyrming of their own.
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This is not a rare opinion amongst those who have been exposed to Misþyrming. They are already being noticed, and celebrated. On September 30, it was announced that they had been chosen to serve as the Roadburn Festival’s 2016 Artists in Residence, a great honour for any band, especially one that’s just recently started making itself heard across the sea.
A long time coming
I met up with Misþyrming’s drummer, a 28-year-old chemistry PhD student named Helgi Rafn Hróðmarsson, in his west Reykjavík flat. The place is overrun by Helgi’s pets: a gerbil, a parakeet, and three rabbits. Academic papers are scattered all over the place. Helgi has been thinking about the prospect of his band becoming Roadburn’s 2016 Artist in Residence since we were talking about it this July, at the Eistnaflug metal festival. The news has finally been made public—he seems relieved.
“Most of the excitement came earlier this year, when we were busy sorting out the details,” he says, “but we’ve really enjoyed the great feedback we’ve gotten from the European black metal scene and vote of confidence from our fans.”
Helgi tells me it was their Úlfsmessa (“Wolf’s Mass”) performance at Eistnaflug that sealed the deal for Misþyrming. Part ritual, part art performance, the mass saw four bands from the Vánagandr DIY collective perform, all wearing identical black shirts and cowls that hid their identities. Úlfsmessa is a dark and occult ritual, one that the Roadburn team was apparently very eager to bring into their folds.
As part of their residency, Misþyrming will perform three shows. First, there’s Algleymi (“Rapture”), where they’ll premiere new material. Algleymi is followed by a staging of Úlfsmessa. Then, finally, they’ll perform their highly revered opus, ‘Söngvar elds og óreiðu’, in its entirety.
Business as usual
Misþyrming are performing at Iceland Airwaves this year. When asked if the band could get excited about playing at a showcase festival that’s decidedly mainstream compared to their usual haunting grounds, Helgi laughed. “We always aim to challenge ourselves and the audience, wherever we play,” he says, “and we’ll do that at Airwaves, at Roadburn, and wherever else we’ll perform. We’ll always put everything into what we’re doing.”
Helgi says that this will be his first time playing as part of the festival’s official line-up—Misþyrming played an off-venue show last year, and he played with a band called Genocide back in 2004. “That was the first time I saw Sólstafir, back when they were playing ‘Ritual of Fire’, and I was blown away,” he says. “I think the people that are interested in black metal and death metal will come and see our concert, but I don’t worry too much about it. We’ve got a 40-minute show, and we’re playing on a metal night with Svartidauði, Ophidian I, and more. It’ll be business as usual.”
Misþyrming will be performing at Wednesday, November 4 at 22:30 at Gaukurinn. Take a gander at the schedule for more Airwaves info.
Posted October 26, 2015