Mercy Buckets: pretty good!
The Mercy Buckets’ performance was a first for me. And a first for their front man as well, it would seem, as he was well winded and nearly unable to speak between songs. But in light of their crushing performance, it was but a minor concern. Their whole style is a collection of mismatched odds and ends that is far greater than the sum of its parts. They are a beard-o band that doesn’t play beard-o metal. They are a southern fried rock group with a stage act like that of a hardcore band, shouted vocals and hard hitting drum kit destruction included. Most of all, they are an act that plays with the conviction of Gísli Freyr Valdórsson and the sick heaviness of Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. When they finally made good on their stage bantered threats of a short set, I nearly gave in to the urge to stir up a one man encore chant until the whole audience had turned around and given me a look of bewilderment.
Kontinuum have stumbled upon a Michelin Star musical recipe prepared to perfection, as palatable to the kvltest metal elitist as your pedestrian Skálmöld fan. Their stage act was by no means a study in wild aggression, but a measured outpouring of heartrending emotion through sadly beautiful passages designed to lull the listener into a somnolent trance. I found their set best enjoyed in a comfortable seat with my eyes closed, to be opened only occasionally when the urge to watch Kristján Einar Guðmundsson attack his drum kit like a metronome linked to the Geneva World Clock became too strong to resist. Of the three bands that took the stage, the superior sound mixing that ruled Húrra that night was most beneficial to Kontinuum, as theirs was the most nuanced performance of the lot—and the one in the direst need of having every pluck of the string carry clearly to the attending eardrums.
As tough an act as Mercy Buckets was for Kontinuum to follow, Kontinuum proved impossible for DOOMRIDERS to follow, and they fared as well as an air mattress in a tropical storm. Their set was as engaging as a conversation with an elementary school drop-out about her passion for astrology. The band’s music was so bland that a stage performance of Botch-like intensity couldn’t have saved it, and their stage act was so powerless that resorting to playing a medley of Converge tunes exclusively would not have helped.
The scarce, fleeting glimpses of gripping melodies were as rare as a vegan at the Reykjavík Bacon Festival, and the songs as memorable as drunken conversation. The fact that it was Nate Fucking Newton of Converge and Old Man Gloom up there shouting without conviction and impotently strumming his guitar like it was a stranger’s newborn baby (which he was nervous about dropping), was as sad as the fact that I´m going to have to have my cat put down next week.
In the end I was able to endure this colourless spectacle about as long as an un-sedated visit to the dentist, and took my leave of the venue with a heavy heart, while the rest of the surprisingly large crowd continued to cheer on DOOMRIDERS like a losing football team.
Húrra, Sunday 23/11: Doomriders, Kontinuum and Mercy Buckets