It seems like too many people paid heed to yesterday’s rant about the merit of smaller venues, as Harpa Norðurljós is almost empty when Momentum started playing. The crowd stood soberly scattered with only one person daring to stand within five metres of the barricades. Momentum, however, did not get discouraged and jumped straight into deep waters. Scene veterans of ten years, the band’s death metal roots were definitely showing during the night’s set.
The bearded men of Momentum tore into “The Freak Is Alive,” and on cue my ears started ringing. Their song titles all sounded exceedingly stereotypical, but the tackiness quickly faded when they started a solid instrumental solo. Unfortunately the magic faded when the instruments suddenly had to play second fiddle to the guttural screaming. If Momentum could have constructed a better bridge between the two, I would be an even happier camper. The crowd kept building in size as the set progressed, and the cheers got louder between songs as the band gained, er, momentum. The final song was filled with groove and made me wish the following band had arrived a bit later than they did.
If Judaeo-Christian inspired dark rock where the band members wear tight leather trousers, dark tops, and frequently strike dramatic poses is your thing, then Dimma’s stage show is perfect for you. If that’s not your cup of tea, then you will find them rather tacky. They have a lot of catchy tunes about carrying heavy crosses and being the night wanderer – so catchy that the following morning the songs are still ringing in my head.
The band drew in so many listeners that half way through the set they had to start directing people so nobody would get trapped. Fist-pumps, cheers and ‘yeah’s erupted from the crowd as Dimma addressed it in between songs. It would however be nice if they switched up their setlist a bit more.
Endless Dark’s energetic post-hardcore show started with band members jumping around the stage whilst the two singers and backing vocalist mixed melodic singing with growls and screams. Throughout the set, the band kept psyching themselves up by pumping their chests like gorillas, and running recklessly, threatening to trip over each other’s’ cords and cables. The crowd seemed moved by Endless Dark, and the band made the effort of addressing their audience, even though they do not seem used to speaking in English. As fun as they were, their sound was fuzzy and the lyrics were at times utterly unintelligible to my geyser ears, making it all sound like noise. Pleasant noise, but still noise. For their finale, Endless Dark got the crowd to clap and cheer as they played their most musically complicated song.
Muck came on stage and delivered an awe-inspiring set with shredding guitars, machine-gun drums, and unleashed raw mayhem that begged to be headbanged to. The crowd was drawn into a furious journey of chaos, but this was the first time I did not witness an explosive mosh pit form to Muck’s live performance – through no fault of their own, they definitely brought the energy.
The band refrained from in-depth banter in between songs, but their set was beautifully composed, the sound was incredibly clear, the music fantastically dirty. In Pétur Ben’s simple words: “Muck are mental,” and the band ended their set by scratching their instruments in a manner that would make Tom Morello proud. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to break into a record store so I can get the band’s three albums.
The moment Sólstafir started playing, the crowd burst into the hall, filling it instantly. Playing a post-metal extravaganza with fell pulled-off instrumental segments, the singer at first sounded like his voice had fallen victim to the Airwaves flu, but he recovered before turning people away.
The cowboy hat and leather waistcoat-wearing heathen rockers played several of their hits, including the slow grinding “Fjara.” The tempo of the songs was dependable, with intense sections washing over the crowd in waves without ever overwhelming. Sólstafir’s set was slow, mesmerising, and promoted the crowd to introspective thought rather than explosive release. Taken in too large doses, however, their music will give listeners an existential crisis.
The Canadian Metz came out jumping, growling and played a ferociously gritty post-hardcore-grunge sound that was at once loud and fun. With their “Dancing Song” the band finally did what I expected Muck would do ages ago: start a mosh pit. The trio kept a furious tempo throughout the show without any signs of fatigue.
Metz got their share of deserved cheers, and were even honoured with a crowd surfer. The band did a good job talking to the crowd, telling them a bit about the songs they were about to play. Rare is the drummer that managed to steal the spotlight from frontmen, but Metz‘ drummer does just that with his enjoyable drum solo. The lovely Torontonians made sure to shred, rip, tear and murder everything they could in the most efficient manner imaginable with the time allotted to them. And like true Canadians, they politely bade the attendees “a great night” and to “take care” before taking a bow.