Published October 17, 2014
BÖRN’s self-titled début is what some of us have been desperately waiting for: an album that properly echoes the misery of living in Reykjavík. Unlike mediocre bands who sing their happy tunes in broken English—with heavy doses of repetitive claps and heys!—BÖRN manage to portray Reykjavík as it really is. It’s neither cute nor civilized; it is in fact a typical Icelandic podunk backwater town (“krummaskuð”) on steroids. Gray, wet and windy.
This Reykjavík death punk band initially called themselves NORN (“WITCH”), and in 2011 released a self-titled cassette of some rather noteworthy tunes. When a local black metal band started performing under the same moniker, a terrible confusion arose that eventually led the punk band to start calling themselves BÖRN (“CHILDREN”). The metamorphosis seems to have been greater than a mere name change, however, as if the children of NORN paradoxically grew up to become the amazingly dark and gloomy grown-ups of BÖRN.
Everything that was interesting about BÖRN’s initial release as NORN is still in place. Their doom-induced post-punk elements have nearly been developed to perfection on BÖRN. It’s punk rock, filled with doom, catchy melodies and beautifully irritated female vocals. On the front cover, vocalist Alexandra sports a bandana, with her nose bleeding. “Sviðin jörð” (“Scorched Earth”) is my favourite song on the album.
Hell, it’s so good it could cause the goth youth of Reykjavík to team up and burn the city to the ground.