I love free shit. If there is something that I can get for nothing, then my grasping mitts are all over it. And when Iceland’s premier death metal monkeys, Severed Crotch, are having an album release concert that’s FREE, then it’s definitely a date!
As I arrive, Manslaughter are setting up. They’re looking relaxed compared to the cack-handed debacle of the Thule Rocks festival a couple of weeks ago. Tonight they piss venom and crap thunder with a set mixing sludge metal with roaring hardcore. In fact, why they don’t just ditch the metal and be pure hardcore is beyond me, as they do it brilliantly and it’s something Iceland has been seriously missing the last couple of years. I feel the call of the wild as I launch into a moshpit that contains… err… two other people. Everyone else is just standing there in their posed nonchalance and won’t take part in the fun. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: when it comes to hardcore music, Icelandic crowds are pussies.
At first glance Angst look an interesting prospect. And when the vocalist starts to sing, it’s with a mighty guttural growl that reminds me instantly of Thorrs Hammer and Arch Enemy, which brings a cheer from the crowd. But by the second song, there is something seriously fucked with their sound. The guitars are inaudible and everything is just completely swamped by the kick drum. It gets so that I ask the sound engineer if he can sort it out, only for him to say that their sound is ‘a mess’ and he can’t do anything with it. This completely ruins the performance, which is also not helped by all their songs sounding pretty much alike. Perhaps it’s a lack of experience or just a general fuck up, but my first thought when they finish was ‘must try harder’.
The place becomes seriously packed as Gone Postal start fubbing around on stage. However, they take forever to set up so I imbibe several drinks and take the piss out of a friend for dressing up like a groupie for Endless Dark. Now GP are a classic marmite band in that you either love them or hate them. This is only the second time I’ve seen them and I’m very much coming around to their style of death metal, which only seems to have two settings, kill and bring it back to life (then kill it again). But singer Tobbi is surely a sight and voice to behold. Whether it’s his nuclear shrieks or fearsome hair windmills, the real secret to his success is that he has the cheeks of the cutest hamster you’d ever want to own. It took all I could not to storm the stage and pinch them. Now it’s time for the big boys.
There’s a tinge of sadness tonight as Severed Crotch’s drummer, Gunnar, is leaving Iceland and there will be no more Crotch for a year! This is a shame as they’ve finally created some real momentum and recognition by releasing their album ‘The Nature of Entropy’. As they explode into their own brand of complex death metal that no one else does better in the country, the crowd (finally) go completely apeshit as I get some musical questions answered (the dog barking sounds on ‘Breeding Failure’ actually come from bass player Þorður). It builds up to a pretty glorifying spectacle as SC morph into the house band for some old forgotten pagan god (you know, the really nasty, gory one). It certainly feels like an old god has skullfucked me forever. As it ends, I need to sit down and wonder how far they could go if they had been Swedish or German. Probably would have booked them as headliners for Eistnaflug 2012.
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