A hopelessly grey day where rain poured like hell, the leafless trees outside a gruesome reminder that we’re still in the dark season, the heavy snow that came later in the evening reaffirming the aforementioned stark notion. It did seem like good timing for the arrival of the cimmerian trades of Svartmálm and Solbrud, two bands sharing the stage in a big hall in the Nordic House.
Booking said bands into a prime cultural venue is a daring experiment. I mean, sitting down comfortably to the aggressive and enveloping sounds of black metal seems antithetical, but then again you could argue that it’s 2018, and progress is impossible without change. Whether it was the preliminary round of the Eurovision song contest or people just being lazy and feeling alienated to the “restrained” factors for a metal concert is anyone’s guess, resulting in rather scarce attendance.
With no sign of wanting to interact with the audience, the four obscured mystics in Svartmálm quietly took the stage and launched into lead track “Deytt ljós”, showing off the various potent shades of black while weaving immersive atmospheres. This was my fifth Svartmálm concert and as I’ve stated before in other articles related to the band, the combination of ferocious aggression and refined atmosphere passing out from the immense array of influences, ascends to a ritualistic/ceremonial current commanding the senses. A very captivating live experience. Their set reached a near flawless state, before the ebow playing during the first part of the “Svartideyði” almost shattered my ears and overpowered the collective sound coming from the stage for a few minutes. All in all, another great performance!
After a short intermission, the danish black metallers in Solbrud threw themselves into what is undoubtedly the single most brutal sounding concert that has taken place on The Faroe Islands. Perhaps not as progressive as Svartmálm, there’s another form of depth to the band’s raw take on epic black metal chords, extremely intense blastbeats and shriek fashioned screams, concocting an hypnotic atmosphere executed with vigorous confidence. The high point for me personally was the track “Det sidste lys”, which also closed their set with an austere, doom-laden guitar intro that slowly built up to a grandiose black metal tempest. Again, not a single word was uttered between the songs, allowing the music to speak on more natural terms.
I haven’t been to a metal concert in the Nordic House since SIC had their “Fighters they bleed” release show, which was in 2011 I think (I missed the Hamferð/Sólstafir gig in 2013). Certainly this evening’s concerts had a different setting, and yet as black metal is gathering more and more cultural and conceptual momentum, it didn’t feel too unnatural to sit down to the extreme sounds. The performances, while undoubtedly urging the force of head banging, also served as a platform for immersion permitting the transcendental side of the genre to illuminate.
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