As I arrive at Amsterdam to do the second part of the METAL NIGHT FROM THE BOWELS OF HELL (and stuff), I meet my compadre Sveinn Birkir who was reviewing part one. “Oh it was OK,” he said. “There was some good stuff going on.” But he was going to stay a bit longer to check out the next band, IN THE COMPANY OF MEN.
And straight from the get go as they launched into “Captain Planet,” they were utterly demented and completely off the wall.
The singer A. K. looked a lot like this:
But his vocal style was more like this:
The guitarist Finnbogi (who is completely straight edge and has only slept with three people in his entire life), jumped into the audience like this…
Which caused the audience to do this
Whereupon they got the audience to scream “FOKK YOU MATTI!!” at the beleaguered friend!
I know we cynical old hacks who are into metal have been a bit stand off-ish when it has come to assessing the quality of ITCOM (“I’m not really into that kind of music,” etc), but I think that the time has come for us all to accept the reality that these guys are one of the best new live acts currently going in Iceland at the moment. They currently have the edge, the attitude and the humour, and everything about their performance tonight just blew you away. It certainly blew Sveinn Birkir away as his face was one of “What in the hell did I just see there?” Top notch!
Now how on Earth do you top that? Well if you’re Ophidian I, you just go harder and better. This was the first time since I’ve seen them since the won the Icelandic Wacken Metal battle back in the spring, and while they were bloody good there, they were actually more brutal in the death metal execution at Amsterdam. The reason for this was mostly down to their current drummer. Their previous drummer Tumi (now drumming for Angist) is fantastic and one of the best drummers in Iceland, period. But Ophidian I’s current drummer Stefán (who also drums in Gone Postal) is a different kettle of fish, having a much more physical style compared to Tumi’s exacting finesse. Watching him in action by the side of the stage, Stefán’s skin pummeling gave Ophidian I’s music much more heft and power, and as such there was a lot of furious headbanging action going on. Absolutely brutal and Dethkloktastic!
After such blistering displays of metal madness, it was always going to be a tough ask for ANGIST to top that. And alas I’m sorry to report that this was not one of the band’s better gigs. It’s not that their music sucks (the songs and take on death metal are awesome to hear), but straight from the off, there was something seriously wrong going on with their sound on stage. The guitars are coming across as an overloading, muddy mess and it’s almost impossible to hear the riffing action clearly. It was frustrating for everyone hearing this – the sound guy, the audience and especially the band as they valiantly tried to wrestle some control of the sound. Maaaan it could have been great, but it was not to be. Let’s just chalk this up to a bad day at the office and do it again some other time.
A thrash metal power trio??? Wait a minute, I thought that BLOOD FEUD used to be a four piece? What happened there? It seems that former vocalist Böðvar is no longer a part of the band, and it’s now bass player Óskar on the gutteral screaming duties. Being a three piece does seem suit these guys though. Because Óskar’s vocal style is much deeper and harder, their sound has acquired a bit more of a steely aspect to it, with more aspect of full on thrash riffing, and a little less of the NWOBHM stylings. Their set is crisp, accomplished and faultless and while my body is starting to show serious signs of lagging, I manage to squeeze out a few more head bangs before admitted bodily defeat around 3am, heading out into the cold, cold night and home.