This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/prog-scene-report-iceland/
Last weeks we wrote about the best Prog bands from the Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Iceland, being one of the Scandinavian countries, has been on the map in recent years with a few bands standing out as representatives of the scene. Check out our Prog Scene Report on Iceland below.
Björk, who is considered as one of the biggest music stars coming from Iceland, is occasionally brought into a connection with Progressive genre, mostly because of her unique, avant-garde approach both to composing and performance.
Sigur Rós from Reykyavik has been active since 1994, and with seven studio albums are definitely one of the biggest music “exports” from Iceland. Their take on the post-rock genre usually includes various influences from art rock, experimental, ambient, and more.
Sólstafir, formed in 1995, are a trio from Reykyavik who has been releasing music since 1996. The band started as a black metal band but during their career they’ve shifted their sound embracing different styles and forms ranging from viking metal, experimental, ambient, post-metal, progressive metal. Their new album Berdreyminn is out on May 26th via Season of Mist.
Below is a list of bands that are among the strongest representatives of the Icelandic prog scene.
Prog Scene Report: Iceland
Heralded as “one of the most exciting new bands in the world today” by UK’s Independent, Agent Fresco emerged in 2008, and since 2008 they release an EP titled Lightbulb Universe, and two full-length albums A Long Time Listening (2010) and Destrier (2015). The last release is an incredibly dynamic continuation of their previous album that manages to double down on many of its best traits and surprise listeners at every turn.
Originally from Álftanes, The Vintage Caravan was formed in 2006 with an idea of releasing music influenced by psychedelic, stoner, blues and progressive rock. The band released three studio albums: 2009′s self-titled self-released debut, followed by Voyage in 2012 and Arrival in 2015.
Throughout the music you hear influences from Led Zepplin to Black Sabbath, appropriated and applied in the classic blues rock tradition. Because of the nature of the music, it’s unfortunate that Vintage Caravan won’t be spoken about all that much, except for in praise of how well they ape their influences. Because this is third time around for this heavy nostalgia, the early nineties are also an obvious touchstone for the young band, Spiritual Beggars and Grand Magus lurk in the exhuberant riffery.
Female-fronted desert rockers Black Desert Sun released their self-titled debut in January last year, which displays their love for bands such Kyuss and Black Sabbath, but is also all over the place. The band has big potential, which will hopefully be brought to perfection on the next releases.
Dynfari plays black metal influenced, heavily atmospheric music. Since its formation as a duo in 2010 this now fully formed Icelandic band has made four albums. Armed with candlelight and incense, the band’s hypnotizing live performances elevate all senses into another world. Dynfari‘s lyrical themes deal with the philosophy of life, death, the universe, loss, hope and sorrow.
Since 2010, the Icelandic technical death metal ensemble Ophidian I have cut a swathe through the Icelandic metal scene. Fusing together a myriad of influences such as Necrophagist, Obscura and the Faceless, Ophidian I has crafted an intricate yet ferocious breed of death metal, combining sophisticated songwriting with lyrical themes such as eschatology and the darker sides of human history.
Show Me Wolves is a solo project which was created in February 2015 by Hörður Lúðvíksson. Show Me Wolves does not think much about following a specific music genre but tries to stay within the black/death/prog metal genre. The project released two albums: Between Man, God and False Idols in 2015, and The World They Took Over last year.
Eldberg was founded in late 2008, and they released two studio albums, 2011′s self-titled and Þar er heimur hugans in 2015. The band plays 1970s-inspired progressive rock with lyrics in Icelandic, heavily relying on keyboards and organs.
Momentum is a Reykjavik based band that started back in 2003. With roots in black/death metal their music is best described today as progressive doom, surreal and psychedelic metal. The trio released four studio albums so far, with their latest being called The Freak is Alive, out via Dark Essence Records.
The trio says about themselves: “The music of Momentum can not be pinned down to a single description, to each his own. The music speaks in different ways to the audience and that is exactly how we want it. Although we are a metal band that is in no way descriptive of the music as it explores so much more. There is only one way, listen to it and come to your own conclusion.“
Kontinuum were conceived with the aim to create hypnotic and spiritual musical noise in Reykjavik in 2010. They released two albums: Earth Blood Magic in 2012, and Kyrr in 2015. The band is currently signed by Season of Mist. The band is not bound by a single genre, but they rather blend elements such progressive metal, post-rock, alternative rock, post-punk, gothic into a very cohesive mix that works out great.
With a name like that, and a self-coined genre, Godchilla is possibly a most intriguing band coming from Iceland these days. Surf-sludge, a mixture of surf rock and sludge, is what the Reykyavik-based trio is thriving for in their music. The band released excellent debut album titled Cosmatos in 2014, and earlier this month they released a new single “Sparkling Void.”
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