I’m quietly kicking myself for not having paid attention to Celestine earlier. What tightness they might lack in the live setting, they more than make up for with their ear shattering intensity. For pure unadulterated heaviness, theirs is definitely the level for which to aspire to. The drummer is a man with the mission of breaking cymbals and bursting drum heads, while the singer seems to be going through some sort of primeval catharsis. Meanwhile, the guitarists belt out riffs so thick and harsh they defy adjectives. Equipment failure plagued the band throughout the set but was quickly mended. The end result resembled what you’d get by filtering slower Converge tracks through a sieve of early Isis.
Once Celestine were led away for angst therapy, Hardcore mainstays I Adapt took the floor. With Metal usurping the Icelandic Hardcore scene, this quartet might be your last resort to getting a pit started in Reykjavík city, that is if you have any time to spare from observing singer Birkir’s own private and personal pit performance. The guy goes at it like a prize fighter slugging it out with an imaginary foe, as he gurgles water between rounds and spits it out on the soon to be drenched hardwood floor.
With their possessed front man leading the charge, the band does what Hardcore bands are supposed to do – express furious anger through loud outbursts of aggressive aural punishment, while possibly cramming in some social commentary between songs – and they do it well.
After the night’s only pit broke out during the last I Adapt number – with which the whole crowd sang along – the evening’s headliners took a long time setting up, giving the audience ample time to up its collective blood alcohol level. Iron Lung, despite being a mere duo, are the loudest thing I’ve witnessed since Artimus Pyle graced Grand Rock some years back – an achievement thundering through four digit amp wattage.
Their press release referenced power violence, grindcore and fastcore among other things, but what my long suffering ear drums detected was mainly short bursts of Crust. Touring with a set list featuring 14 songs that strive for the one minute mark, you’d best cultivate a good sense of humour and really milk the stage patter, which their drummer/ singer does while throwing out jokes about his own weight problem and commenting on their Golden Circle daytrip.
The performance was a thing of beauty, although more of a shock and awe kinda thing than a deft recitation of quality musical pieces. In the end Iron Lung felt like a humorous/furious gimmick and not so much a band bent on serious emotional expression through a shared love of musical form.