By Kaptain Carbon. I wonder if we'll ever look back through history and mark the mid 2010’s with an Icelandic black metal explosion. I wonder if there are even enough bands or albums to constitute said explosion, or if anyone will remember how it feltBy Kaptain Carbon.
I wonder if we'll ever look back through history and mark the mid 2010’s with an Icelandic black metal explosion. I wonder if there are even enough bands or albums to constitute said explosion, or if anyone will remember how it felt when there were so many bands coming out of one small island country known for mythical creatures. The year 2015 seems so very long ago, which was the release year of Misþyrming’s Söngvar elds og óreiðu, and Sinmara’s 2014 release Aphotic Womb seems even further away.
The history of Iceland’s black metal scene can be traced further back, but right around 2014/2015 is when things started to get crazy with blog attention and magazine articles. At this moment, Zhrine, Wormlust, Svartidauði, Naðra, Mannveira, and a handful of other bands all share one blistering hotbed of hate and dejection and in a couple of years, perhaps we can discuss these bands without seeing them as some cultural anomaly. Until then it is almost impossible to discuss one without at least mentioning the others.
|Artwork by Joseph Deegan.|
Ivory Stone / Hof is a stopgap, break, or harbinger for two bands who have been over a year without a record. Misþyrming’s debut was released 2 years ago this month with Sinmara’s debut even earlier. It is getting to the point when we will be expecting new material from both artists and the very short Ivory Stone / Hof split seems to be doing just that, as it presents two tracks that not only reignite interest in both bands but perhaps give horrid visions for the future. Splits are a fantastic, low stakes chance for a band to renew their interest in the world or chill the air with dark portents.
Perhaps the more surprising of the two is the absolute barbaric track from Sinmara. As if recorded inside a dust tornado, the rhythm and instrumentation for "Ivory Stone" is far more than expected since their debut. This track of surprise continues well into the song with changes in instrumentation and ascending guitar lines that feel like spiral staircases into maddening towers. While Sinmara was one of the first bands out of Iceland's black metal metal scene that I discovered, but soon forgot, "Ivory Stone" reunites me and perhaps others with that same calculated aggression that fueled their debut.
Misþyrming is perhaps the most well known or recognizable names from the whole of Icelandic black metal scene for nothing else than people do not know how to spell their name without copy/paste. If you had forgotten how aggressive Söngvar elds og óreiðu was, allow your memory to be jogged with the raw punch of "Hof". Perhaps even more than their previous works, this band steps on the throat of listeners leading to something that is tyrannical and obliterating in its very nature. "Hof" adds to its off putting position with cryptic spoken word segments which break the assault of the music that does not come gentle. If anyone has forgotten what this band introduced themselves as, allow this to be a gentle reminder in the form of a closed fist.
Splits are a fantastic way of sampling music but also projecting directions for bands. If I were to give a summation of the Ivory Stone / Hof split, it would be business as usual in Iceland with the potential for some catastrophic disasters in the future. The pairing of these two seems like a match made in anywhere but heaven.
Kaptain Carbon moderates Reddit's r/metal as well as writes reviews for lesser known black, death, and doom metal for Tape Wyrm as well as Dungeon Synth, Tabletop, and Movie Reviews for Hollywood Metal.