From Iceland — Metal And Indie Make Sam Happy

Metal And Indie Make Sam Happy

Published December 20, 2019

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Une Misère

Une Misère – Sermon

What a fucking album this is. This celebration of suffering is a series of well-polished anthems to misery. Imagine a demon-possessed pastor of a megachurch urging his congregation focus on their most fatal weaknesses. Then, when they do, he lets them cry and tells them that everything will be alright. That’s this album. It’s cathartic. It’s apocalyptic. It’s soul-rending, face-melting, heavy-as-a-mother-fucking-neutron-star metal at its finest. These guys are going places.

Blóðmör – Líkþorn

This is technically an EP, but it’s too good not to mention. Ever since I heard them for the first time in September, I’ve been in love with their sound. Blending the genres of heavy metal and punk rock, these guys sing about crusty feet, creepy dudes, and bathroom breaks. A lot of metal bands try to embody evil and misery, but Blóðmör embodies mischief and awkwardness. It’s a fun little bit of devilish music that perfectly accompanies a walk downtown or a bus ride around the city.

Misþyrming – Algleymi

2019 was a very good year for Icelandic metal. This is no less true for Misþyrming, the band that put Icelandic Black Metal on the map in 2015. In 2019, they traded the high reverb and heavy distortion which typically characterises the genre for a more orchestral, cinematic sound while still growling on the mic and shredding on the guitar. The result is a symphonic ride that feels like a giant raven creature has come to eat the softest parts of your body while you’re lost in the forest by Perlan. Fucking kvlt.

Karitas – Songs for Crying

All right, that’s enough metal for now. Let’s get into some electronic indie stuff. This is another EP that I couldn’t stay away from. It’s very short, but very well composed. Each track blends into the next one so well that you could be forgiven for thinking that the EP was one long electronic-prog song. Songs for Crying is an emotional group of short tracks that capture the sinking feeling of unrequited love, the need to get out of a terrible relationship, and other emotionally draining topics. Despite the heaviness of the lyrics, Songs for Crying is easy to vibe to, as long as you aren’t going through a rough breakup or something. Just put it on and relax for a bit. Try not to cry. Then cry a lot.

Ásta – Sykurbað

This is another album with heavy subject matter. I caught her at Airwaves this year, and she put on a very emotional set. The artist has a background in classical music, and that background shines through in this beautiful album. Her voice is unique, haunting, and full of ethos. The story behind the album is very sad. She lived in Flateyri for a year, where she was in a relationship with a boy who wasn’t very nice to her. All of the songs on Sykurbað stem from this experience, and you can hear the emotions, even if you can’t understand the lyrics. The music will be stuck in your head for several days after you hear it, especially the title track.

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