From Iceland — Do You Truly Love Sátan?

Do You Truly Love Sátan?

Published June 6, 2024

Do You Truly Love Sátan?
Photo by
Red Illuminations

Iceland’s newest metal festival features a legendary comeback


From June 6-8, the town of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula hosts the first edition of Sátan, a brand new heavy metal music festival. I grabbed a coffee with Sátan organiser Gísli Sigmundsson and Birkir Fjalar Viðarsson — the frontman of the legendary band I Adapt — where they spilled the tea.

Gísli Sigmundsson has dedicated nearly 50 years of his life to music and metal. “I’ve been into metal since the age of six and started playing in 1990 with Icelandic death metal band Sororicide. Over the years, I’ve been in and out of bands, organising gigs, and helping run the Eistnaflug festival in East Iceland, where I managed foreign band bookings,” he says.

Nowadays, Gísli is hard at work putting on Sátan, which aims to take up the mantle of the now defunct Eistnaflug, which incited its final mosh pit in 2022. He’s not going it alone, though— Sátan has a 10-person team bringing the event together, with Gísli overseeing bookings, major decisions and media representation.

The plan is to hold the festival every year as long as we have support, or until we die.

Birkir was in the countryside picking rocks to furnish his aquarium when he received a call from Gísli. Much like a fish, he was speechless. “I wasn’t expecting to get back into the scene after 20 years, but when Gísli called about I Adapt playing Sátan, it felt right,” he says. “The clean air and my wife wanting to see me play for the first time were big factors in my decision to join.”

I Adapt hasn’t performed since their reunion concert at Eistnaflug in 2012. The next reunion taking place at Sátan feels fitting.

Damned accidents

“It all started by accident,” Gísli explains. “My daughter, Lilja, wanted to go to a festival abroad, but it was sold out. So, she suggested we have our own festival in Stykkishólmur. We approached the municipality expecting a no, but they surprisingly agreed.”

Gísli, along with his daughter, his wife Nancy and former Sororicide member Guðjón Óttarsson, represent the core team of Sátan. The support from the local community has been unexpectedly good, with the festival amassing a slew of sponsors.

The festival’s remoteness lends the event a special atmosphere, where attendees can immerse themselves fully in the music, forgetting the struggles of daily life. Stykkishólmur offers a similarly remote vibe to Eistnaflug’s former homebase in Neskaupstaður, while being considerably closer to Reykjavík. “Many people miss Eistnaflug, so when I first heard about Sátan, I thought it was timely,” Birkir adds. “Being away from the city really brings out the best in people!”

Embracing the learning curve

Figuring out logistics has been a learning curve for the Sátan team. They’re not aiming for perfection this first time around, but everyone is committed to learning and improving for the benefit of future editions.

“We’ve had to deal with the municipality, licences, police and fire department. It’s important for the authorities to understand we’re not complete nut cases,” Gísli laughs. “The plan is to hold the festival every year as long as we have support, or until we die,” he adds, dead serious.

It’s fitting that the first band to be booked for Sátan were longstanding Icelandic band HAM — “ a cornerstone of Icelandic rock and metal,” according to Gísli. The old guard will be joined by newer Icelandic bands, with international acts like Arcturus, Wolfbrigade and Vltimas rounding things out.

We were so obnoxious back then. We had something to say, and if people didn’t like it, we would say it 10 times louder.

In addition to metal, Sátan will feature hardcore elements, but it won’t expand beyond that. No more than one-third of the lineup will be international and no band will play two years in a row. The calibre of the Icelandic metal scene has grown so much that Gísli considers this to be an achievable goal.

Obviously Obnoxious

“I was initially sceptical about I Adapt reuniting, but the support and enthusiasm have been overwhelming,” Birkir says. I Adapt has often been in the frontlines of saying whatever the fuck they want, to put it nicely. “We were so obnoxious back then,” Birkir admits. “We had something to say, and if people didn’t like it, we would say it 10 times louder.”

“Now, we respect the music more and think more about the sound, tonality and riffs,” he adds. This growth is reflected in their new lyric video for the song “Afraid To Leave,” about equality and human rights. “We stand with Palestine, just like we did 20 years ago. The crimes against humanity are so apparent now that no one is trying to hide them anymore. We stand against all genocide and ethnic cleansing, wherever in the world it’s happening.”

At the moment, I Adapt does not have any other plans to perform live, making Sátan a not-to-be-missed event for fans of the band and those curious to see what all the fuss is about.

Worship Sátan this summer. Check out the full festival lineup and ticket availability at


Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!