From Iceland — The Legion

The Legion

Published February 5, 2016

The Legion
Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Hafsteinn Viðar

The Icelandic black metal scene has been gaining a lot of traction as of late, playing at international festivals and in many ways redefining the genre. Check out the tunes, translation, and ideology of seven of the forerunners of the scene: Svartidauði, Sinmara, Auðn, Misþyrming, Wormlust, and Mannveira. Catch the black death from Svartidauði and then cure it with the psychedelic sound of Wormlust. Hear the carnal fury of Misþyrming or the slow melancholy of Auðn. Get some grandiosity from Sinmara and some raw anger from Mannveira. Pick your poison.

Translation: Black death
Ideology: “Apocalyptic nihilism combined with a certain degree of occult perspective.”
Listen to: “Venus Illegitima”

Translation: Desolation
Ideology: “Depression. If we aren’t talking about depression directly, we are talking about the destruction of the world by the hands of nature.”
Listen to: “Þjáning Heillar Þjóðar”

Translation: Abuse
Ideology: “Fury, I guess. It’s visceral fury.”
Listen to: “Söngur heiftar”

Translation: A female figure in Norse mythology, who is the wife of the fire jötunn Surtr.
Ideology: “Death. A singular expression of darkness. I have been trying to aim for outright death-worship in many of these lyrics.”
Listen to: “Aphotic Womb”

Translation: Serpent or viper, also a backstabber
Ideology: “It’s very much inspired by nature, the highlands in particular. It’s about trauma, loss, the fall from one’s ivory tower and remaining true to your moral codes, even after it ceases to matter, because all paths to oblivion are equal.”
Listen to: “Sár”

Translation: “There was a Finnish band called Wolfheart, so I decided to go a little more underground—literally from the wolf to the worm and from the heart to the lust.”
Ideology: “A lust for the grave, for the void, for the afterlife.”
Listen to: “Sex augu, tólf stjörnur”

Translation: Man virus
Ideology: “Really conflicting ideas about mortality, death, existence, and consciousness, mixed in with some really depressing nihilism and anger. It’s the anguish of being. The torment of consciousness. There’s some really conflicting ideas about being and not being.”
Listen to: “Von er eitur”

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