So in the aftermath of Eistnaflug, I did a short Op-Ed piece on the current state of the Icelandic Metal scene (I really need to do something about getting a new Byline photo. I look like a predatory Gaye Biker on Acid). I also knocked off a review of the debut album from BLOOD FEUD. Overall it was a good, solid debut with the keyword being thrash, which to be honest we need more of in Iceland, so we can get some real head-banging on the go. Just needs to have a rethink about those vocals though.
As an apropos (don’t worry, i made sure i checked up that word before I used it) to the Op-Ed article, it seems that things are definitely stirring under the scene as a whole. Alas the minute i finished writing the piece, i found out that one of the real up and comers of the scene, HYLUR, only had to be a bunch of selfish bastards and split up.
But things are still looking good overall. Death metal band ANGIST announced today that they’ve recently signed a deal with US indie metal label Abyss Records. Essentially many musos have realised that if anything is going to happen in their careers, then they’re the only ones who are going to do it. It doesn’t mean the end of the earth to schmooze people who may help you further you ambitions from journalists to people who hold the keys to festival booking and cultural grants. Granted, you may need to shower yourself afterwards, but all for the greater good i suppose. And we’re beginning to see some acts reap the rewards of their labours.
There is still a real sense of frustration amongst many in the scene with regard how the wider cultural industries in Iceland view metal and its potential. While most said they were OK with their current exposure and received decent press, both here and abroad, they felt that other types of music of music got more exposure and money because they’re more easy to market (that whole evil culture/tourism axis is popping up again) abroad. One musician really went to town in his reply with a most righteous rant, railing everything in the system, as well as more famous metal bands for acting like divas. I had to lie down after reading it with a cold compress.
With the band member who talked about trying to get funding for their tour last year, they noted that at the same time a “Cutesy band got 1 million ISK to go to China…. I haven’t heard anything about that since. I’m not slagging the band that got the money. I’m sure they needed it and all that, but I’m just saying compared to our project it seemed just really unfair. I know Sólstafir sometimes get funded, but they have a label behind them and a massive exposure but that’s really my point. What about the other bands that are maybe getting similar opportunities but need a little kick-start to launch their projects? I’m sure if 3 big “radio friendly” bands had applied to these funds with the same project would have gotten a blank check. We didn’t even ask for half of what that krútt band got for our tour”. Indeed
True a lot of death/black/ other forms of metal could be called “niche”, but if you followed that logic, then only music guaranteed to appeal to the broadest demographic (i,e, really BORING music) will be destined to get the most backing/funding/coverage.
If you fancy listening to the new album from blood Feud, then you can stream it HERE.