Saturday, 27 September 2014

Mother Country Music Loving, Part four.

This will be my fourth(duh!) part of writing about bands from Iceland. If you'd like to catch up here is Number One, Number Two and Number Three.

Ask The Slave, 2010
Ask the Slave, is an Avant-Garde metal band. I first heard of them and heard them when I attended Eistnaflug in 2008. The little I do remember from my alcohol induced haze was that I really enjoyed their music. Someone had remarked that they were the Icelandic version of Faith No More, I personally after listening to them would say that they are more akin to Mr. Bungle. There are a lot of genre lumped together into one song, lots of rhythms shifts and melody changes, but most of those don't sound out of place or forced. Valurs vocal does sound like he went to the Mike Patton school of Vocal Tormenting. He's easily the most versatile singer to come from Iceland. But everything he does regarding the singing is for the betterment of the song. Which is the wonderful thing about this band, while Valur could/would/should be the stand-out member, but he isn't. They all function like a well oiled machine, if one of the other instruments would be taken of the songs it would fall to pieces. So far there are two albums, "Kiss Your Chora" and  "The Order of Things" out and one B-Side collection called "The King of Prunes", with a new LP, called "Good People, Bad Things" which is meant to be out next year. And yes I am looking forward to it. They also make some excellent music video's for example the song "Sleep Now" which sounds like a lovely ballad up until you watch the video and realise how creepy it actually is. It is one of those instances where the video makes a good song great.
Both their albums while being all over the place manage to suck you in and keep your interest throughout. And I personally am looking forward to the day when they open up for Mr. Bungle and Mike Patton walks on the stage then drops the mike stating he can't keep up.

Dr. Spock
Dr Spock, is a very unusual rock. Again we are looking at the Avant-Garde section of things. Most of all it is plain and simple good fun rock and roll or in their own words "Heavy Metal Cabaret with a dash of Surf-Porn Cartoon Funky Polka". By all accounts their concerts are once in a lifetime experience. Which doesn't really surprise me, in their ranks they've got the gruff voice from HAM, who continues barking orders and sounding like he's cursing the entire world. In the most jovial manner of course. It is very chaotic music that is on display, but at the same time even with my rather low-fi laptop speakers I feel like dancing like a mad cow and thrash my living room, the song "Sons of Ecuador" being the perfect example of this manic musical genius that is going on. But as far as I can see nothing new has appeared since 2008, which is a crying shame. But even with a short life they've left a long lasting legacy and much like HAM their reputation seems to be growing with their absence. And if only they had actually got into Eurovision with their song. It would have been perfect. But Ottar Proppee finally did manage to perform on the big stage in 2014.

Börn, now there is a certain amount of nepotism going on here in the sense that I probably wouldn't have given this band a chance if it didn't include family members. But to be clear I don't write blogs  about a band that I don't like. It just so happens that this band includes my youngest sister on vocals and her boyfriend on the drums. They have been playing together in various forms of punk bands. The earliest incarnation that I know of was Tentacles of Doom, which then got changed into Norn, but they had to reconsider their name choices when it turned out that there is a black metal band in Iceland using the same name. So here we've ended up with Börn. And unfortunately I giggle probably way more then I should when I type in the url of their BandCamp site. On the whole I'm not a big fan of the punk scene. Never have been though of course like other genre's there are always bands that manage to captivate my attention. Börn being one of them. What this album reminds me mostly of are the first two albums by Killing Joke. There is this almost joyous tribalism running throughout this smog of despair. It all sounds exceptionally simple, all the instruments seem to be geared towards being rhythmic and, well, dancable. Alexandra barks out her lyrics with pure unbristled ferocious commanding singing, all about self-reliance, equality and independence. On this album she sounds like she could and should command armies. It would be great to see them and It Hurts To Be Dead play at the same gig.

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