Over the years Iceland’s own Sólstafir have been transcending the genre and captivating listeners with their own unique blend of rock. Incorporating an array of elements ranging from Experimental to Psychedelic the Icelandic quartet have paved the road for themselves, moving them to the forefront of the scene. While their roots lie deep in the realm of metal their new album Berdreyminn is a beautiful homage to the various sounds within the bands scope. Translating to “dreamer of forthcoming events” Berdreyminn paints an ambience as vast as the landscapes of their homeland.
Photo Courtesy of Jose Quintanilla nofacefilms.com
I had the pleasure of asking Ritual’s own Ian Fleming some questions wherein he discusses what is new with the band, upcoming shows, and other random tidbits of information.
What is happening with Ritual, anything new and noteworthy?
We have a new album completed. We are playing Blackest of the Black Fest in Orange County and we have a music video coming out. We just shot day 1 of the video recently at The Steve Allen Theater, which is soon to be demolished and replaced with overpriced condos.
What are the plans for the future?
We are planning a few shows in SoCal and Tijuana. We are also playing in NorCal at Festum Carnis this summer. New shows are getting added to our schedule at a rapidly growing rate. We plan on getting this new album out asap and doing a tour. I am contemplating whether I want to release it independently or deal with a label.
What got you involved in music in the first place?
I was always a very creative kid. I used to draw a lot back then and I was pretty good at it. When I was 14 or so my friend got a guitar for his birthday. He started playing a lot and wanted to start a band. His uncle loaned us a bass and I started playing and started our garage band, played high school battles of the bands, little clubs around town. I was the best singer amongst our little group so I became the vocalist by default.
How do you feel about the internet in today’s music scene?
It’s cool. It has it’s pluses and minuses like anything, and it’s been discussed and debated over and over again. I think most people have heard it all before. But I think overall it’s a good thing. It’s not going away so best to embrace it. I have friends who are not professional artists, who make great music and have a few solid followers. Having that outlet to create and distribute their own music is exciting and it makes their lives and their fans’ lives better. More freedom is always good. There will always be mainstream commercially driven corporation funded music and that’s okay too. Diversity is good.
There is a rumbling in the distance, and feedback is pulsating through the fog. A force unto us masked in heavy riffage and guttural vocals…. Sixes is a band that hails from Southern California and they specialize in Sludgy Doom Metal brewed with hints of Black Metal that all comes together in a powerhouse of sound. They have recently premiered a single entitled “A Cross to Burn” off their upcoming full length album set to be released this Fall.
With its beautiful scenery and harsh winters there really is something special about music that comes out of Iceland. The country has come a long way when it comes to the metal scene, and Auðn have managed to portray the cold atmosphere of their home in their sweeping release “Auðn”. I am a big fan of the Icelandic metal scene and I have rarely been disappointed with anything that comes out of that amazing place. This album is rich with all the familiarities of Black Metal but the atmospheric and melodic elements really adds something special. Now unfortunately I do not speak Icelandic and this is not the first time I have longed for that ability, but do not get me wrong this does not take away from the release. Each song is melodic, powerful, and bleak.
Refreshing, Cold, Epic, and Folky are just a few words that come to mind when I first listened to Borknagar’s tenth studio album “Winter Thrice”. With an exquisite diverse line up Borknagar have managed to capture the essence of the word progressive. There is so much going on with this release between Vintersorg’s growls, ICS Vortex’s sweeping vocals, Lars key melodies, Øystein’s prominent rhythm, Jens leads, and Baard’s fluid drumming I almost found myself at a loss for words to describe this masterpiece. “The Rhymes of the Mountain kicks things off with ICS Vortex’s all-encompassing vocals and mingled with Vintersorg’s growls, this song definitely sets the pace for the whole album. “Winter Thrice” featuring vocals by Garm (Ulver) is a definite treat, it is so catchy and is one that has stuck with me. The final track “Terminus” also graces the ears with Garm’s Vocals.
I happened to come across this band after a message was sent to me through Facebook. Now I am a big fan of anything Epic, Folky, Melodic, and Metal so I was happy to hear that Aethyr was in the process of releasing an album as such. Towards the Realm of Nothingness embraces the genre with full force and that can be heard in the longest track “Awaken the Northstar”. The whole album features sweeping guitars, harsh vocals, and looming orchestrations that give off the vibe of coldness and winter. “Lullaby to a Mourning Moon” is just as epic and it manages to set the course for the rest of the album. For a band that is unsigned, Aethyr has managed to release a sound that is familiar to fans of Wintersun and others alike in the genre. I recommend that anyone who is a fan check this up and coming band out, they most definitely do not disappoint.