Grapevine Airwaves 2013

November 3, 2013

Icelandic Metal Is Alive And Well – Amsterdam Pt. 1

Kontinuum at Amsterdam by Siggi

Music Overview

  • Artists: Trust the Lies, Saktmóðigur, Kontinuum, Wistaria
  • Venue:  Amsterdam
  • Time:  Saturday
  • The Good:  Icelandic metal is alive and well
  • The Bad:  The crowd was thin
  • Reviewed by: Sveinn Birkir Björnsson
  • Photo: Kontinuum at Amsterdam by Siggi

Trust The Lies is a young, upcoming metalcore band. They are obviously well rehearsed for the occasion, with all melodic changes delivered without a hitch, and their timings are impeccable. They have a lot of raw power, and pull off an energetic and lively show, which had a small crowd moshing by the end of their set. They showed occasional flashes of something really exciting, but mostly, it was just true to the genre, and their paint by the numbers type of songwriting never got me tremendously enthused. But, they are young, so there is hope yet.

Saktmóðigur is a band that has been around for over twenty years, so they have earned their respect in the Icelandic punk and metal community. They draw a crowd of older fans, dudes in leather jackets and gals with a lot of make-up. Their sound is much more punk than metal, though, based around thick riffs and hooks that have you humming. They have some catchy tunes, and at their best they sound like an excellent anti-authority punk band. But their downside weighs a ton. Their songs go on for too long and often lack focus, and their stage charisma was pretty minimal. This band could probably enjoy another 20 years of playing barrooms across the city, and occasionally releasing an LP, and, you know, I hope they do, but in in all honesty they are not far from becoming a novelty act.

As Kontiuum was taking stage, I discovered that this was a band featuring an all-star line-up of veterans from the Icelandic metal community. There is a school of thought that says past performance is a great indicator of future performance, but there are a lot intangibles that go into making a band, so I try to keep my expectations in check. They display incredible technical mastery of their instruments, and build epic riffs around three guitars, and write experimental metal songs that have loads of balls to them. But the singing is weak, and eventually, I found myself wanting to like the band more than I actually did.

I like Wistaria from the get go. They pack incredible power, and they are loud and heavy as fuck. They create a wall of sound behind the guttural barking of the singer and the massive sound of the double kick-drum. They play a new song, so brand new that it remains untitled, and sounds promising for their future material. They bring up a guest singer for the final song, and instantly incite a riot in front of the stage. They are not really breaking new ground here, but what the do, they do really, really well.



About the Author

sveinnbirkir
sveinnbirkir
Former Reykjavík Grapevine editor. Still lives to whine another day.




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