Celebrating the release of their respective albums and the formation of their own record label, Molestine Records, two Reykjavík metal bands, Momentum and Celestine, seized the old Iðnó theatre by the Reykjavík pond for a night of industrial strength metal music.
The night commenced with an appearance by Muck, a young sludge metal band that is fast building a reputation. Musically, these lads have taken strides since I last saw them and should be recognised as one of Reykjavík’s more promising underground bands. They built a thick, airtight wall of slow riffs that hit like a bulldozer. But as tight as they sounded, they left a boatload to be desired in stage presence. Isaac Hayes is more alive than these guys.
I don’t share some people’s enthusiasm for Ask the Slave. Franky, I find their progish metal extremely boring, but I’ll readily admit that they were a vast improvement in stage performance. Front-man Ragnar has a sense for showmanship that could propel this band further.
Celestine’s two albums blew me away, but every time I’ve seen them play they have failed to live up to the expectations of that promise. This was a different story. The band’s recent European tour and recent recording sessions have honed their rough edges and inspired them with confidence. Their guitars tuned down to the last letter of the alphabet, the band delivered a mind-numbingly heavy set with scientifically engineered precision that turned my insides out and left me vibrating long after I left the venue. Their delivery of Ghost Orchid was the night’s highlight.
The show’s final act was Momentum, is a throwback to the golden years of death metal. Their performance rekindled memories of my mother banging on the door, demanding that I “turn that shit down!” Their sound is built around technical mastery as the three-piece rhythm section, featuring 19 strings, bears witness to. They pulled of a very respectable set, topped by guest appearance by Ask the Slave’s Ragnar, whose flair for the high notes established a nice contrast to vocalist Hörður’s guttural barking.
- WHO Celestine Momentum Muck Ask the Slave WHERE Iðnó WHEN Friday, August 8 THE VERDICT Celestine delivered the goods, aptly backed up by Momentum and to a lesser extent, Muck and Ask the Slave.