It was Friday night, June 12th, the time of the year when it’s still bright in Iceland even after midnight. The countdown in the darkness of Gaukurinn, a venue in downtown Reykjavík, was over. Finally, the day of musical fireworks had come, and I was armed with a beer as my excitement jumped . I was ready for the show that would proudly kick off my weekend. Only bands like the progressive post-metal Kontinuum and hardcore Muck knew how to scratch me nicely behind the ears.
This year, I was told by an expert in the Icelandic music scene that Kontinuum was a band to watch. Indeed, they have played together since 2010 and recently released their second album, Kyrr. They started the show with the album-opening song that drifts between progressive post-metal and dream-wave. Immediately, ʻBreatheʼ made me feel that Kyrr would fit perfectly into my parents’ mysterious cassette drawer, which was full of tapes in my childhood years that begged me for further explore them. Kontinuum blends elements of dream-wave, cold post-punk, doom metal and even gothic.
As a five-piece band with experienced musicians, Kontinuum offers the power of three guitars crowned by the deep voice of Birgir Thorgeirsson, which enhances the surroundings’ unreal impressions and the feeling of entering a hypnotic and spiritualistic mood. Music-wise, melodic compositions are characterized by a variety of elaborate layers, and the band proves that being limited to one genre is only for jellyfish. Thanks to Kristján Einar Guðmundsson, the heavy rhythmic beauty of drums bursts without any warning. The sincere and emotional music of Kontinuum transfixes you, and the catchy songs chosen for the promo singles, like ʻÍ Huldusalʼ, have you humming along after a few listenings. Do you know that moment during the last song of the show, when the sound sucks you out like a Dementor? Such is the hypnotising finale, ʻSteinrunninn Skógurʼ, performed by Kontinuum.
After a short break, the stage was taken over by the young rebels of Muck. Their new album, Your Joyous Future, released by Prosthetic Records, an American record label, was one of my most highly anticipated albums of 2015. Upon stepping into the spotlight they immediately turned into furious sonic monsters, proving each and every time how good they are at performing live. The pretty fast and huge sound of guitars and meaty bass lines will ring in your ears long after the show is done.
As for the band’s rhythm section, Karl Ställborn and Indriði Arnar Ingólfsson don’t even think about conserving their energy for later. They are always ready to scream their lungs out, almost devastatingly. You can feel the band’s great chemistry as the situation on stage aggressively progresses like there is no tomorrow. The new material is full of variety, but the songs create a wholeness, more so than songs from the debut album, Slaves. During the show, the band offered brand new compositions, with such highlights as ʻProvoke Meʼ, ʻMy Cityʼ or ʻWaitingʼ, but they also played unreleased tracks like ʻYesterdayʼ and the final blast – ʻDraculaʼ. Just Muck in, huh?
Considering how high my expectations were, I should have been surprised. But, to be honest, I wasn’t surprised at all. I was indisputably satisfied right away. Let’s call it a matter of faith and trust – they do know how to rock. And how to pulp listeners, too.
Words by Stína Satanía
Kontinuum on Bandcamp
Muck on Facebook