Carcass, Behemoth, Godflesh, Enslaved and Kvelertak: The Eistnaflug Festival sends shock waves through the local heavy metal community with a string of unfuckwithable bookings for next year’s edition.
The infamous Eistnaflug Festival has grown with leaps and bounds since its inception roughly a decade ago. But after it’s head honcho Stefán Magnússon’s announcement following last summer’s edition that the festival would probably be forced to fold if several local infrastructural issues were not dealt with, they are now dancing to a significantly different beat.
Initially they announced that the festival, which has long since outgrown its old framework, would henceforth be held at the local sports hall, instead of its customary abode at Egilsbúð.
During the fall, the bands, international as well as local, have been regularly introduced on the festival’s Facebook fan page. Each of the bands bigger than the previous one, and when the local head banging hordes thought they had witnessed the ultimate booking and what they perceived to be the be all, end all of possible headliners in Poland’s blackened death virtuosos Behemoth, the announcement that came this past Wednesday the 19th proved that to be mere foreplay to the monumental news that both the resurrected grindcore midwifes in Carcass and the Norwegian rock wonders in Kvelertak would come along for the ride.
All told, no less than twelve international acts will perform in Neskaupsstaður during the second weekend of July next summer. A more than twofold increase from the summer past. Among them another resurrected act by the name of Godflesh, who are considered a minor deity in industrial metal circles, the American black metal act Inquisition, who are on the top of their game at the moment, another black metal band in Britain’s Lvcifyre and last, but not least, yet another black metal act; a legend named Enslaved, who hail from the black metal motherland of Norway. Enslaved rode the first wave of Norwegian black metal towards untold glories, but currently specialize in a much acclaimed avant-garde sub-genre of an already sub-genre. The Swedish gimmick act Vampire and their fellow countrymen in In Solitude will also appear. But the countdown is far from over and the black metal acts still to be counted include not only the Greeks in Rotting Christ but also local corpse paint aficionados Auðn, Sinmara and Misþyrming. Death metal seems to be drawing the shortest straw this time around, as this extreme black metal focus to some degree reflects the shifting trend towards black metal in the scene in the last few years. In fact death metal is only allowed to shine through the performance of long time local death metal flag bearers, Severed – who view every live performance as a bare knuckles fight to the death.
Momentum are set to wow the crowd as per usual, although a decision was made not to book some of the acts that long have held a sort of subscription to the festival. Sólstafir fall under that definition as well, and the art-centric crusher/destroyers in Muck are fast gaining admission to that club by the means of their unfathomable work ethic. Their would be no festival without the classic rock sounds that the hyperactive youngsters in The vintage Caravan perform with unwavering passion, nor without the heaviest band in Icelandic metal history, HAM, leading the hordes into a sweat drenched frenzy.
Kontinuum is quickly climbing the metal cred ladder these days and are quite deserving of their spot on the line up, as are the boys in Icarus, who play metallic hardcore with steadfast vigor, but the festival can lay claim to a certain insight and forward thinking by booking them, as they will surely prove to be the future of the genre on home soil.
The festival also displays flashes of brilliance by introducing Lights on the Highway, who unfortunately have been on indefinite hiatus since their backbone Agnar Eldberg Kofoed Hansen set sails for Texas some years ago. For those not in the know, their sweet melodies bear little stylistic resemblance to the prevailing metal sound of the festival
And finally there are the two remaining foreign bands that’ll honor us with their presence, but they are about par for the course, even if their fame is not as wide spread. Here we’re talking about Danish post-metal punishers LLNN, who approach the genre from the heaviest, most raw angle possible, as well as British sludge masters Conan, who are likely to accept the cult favorite torch from last year’s torch bearers Bölzer.
All these changes naturally entail that lesser local prophets are bound to face higher entry hurdles to this, the largest stage in the Icelandic metal scene, owing both to the increased number of foreign acts and to the fact that big names demand longer sets, which obviously means that number of total bands decreases significantly. But all progress comes at a price and this will undoubtedly raise the standard of local acts that are offered spots at future editions of the festival, although some bad apples unfortunately slipped through the cracks to mingle with the world class artists gracing the stage at the sports hall next summer.
At the sadder end of the news spectrum the Mayhemisphere off-venue festival might be forced to cancel for the foreseeable future, as their home at Stálsmiðjan is due for demolition. But the future of this progressive project is still up in the air and it might well resurface in some form or another at an undisclosed location in the coming summer.
The line-up in its entirety can be viewed below:
Agent Fresco (IS) Alchemia (IS) Auðn (IS) Behemoth (PL) Brain Police (IS) Brim (IS) Börn (IS) Conan (UK) Carcass (UK) Dimma (IS) Dys (IS) ENSLAVED (NO) FM Belfast (IS) Godflesh (UK) Grísalappalísa (IS) HAM (IS) Icarus (IS) In Solitude (SE) Inquisition (US) Kontinuum (IS) Kvelertak (NO) Lights on the Highway (IS) LLNN (DK) Lvcifyre (UK) Misþyrming (IS) Momentum (IS) Muck (IS) Rotting Christ (GR) Saktmóðigur (IS) Severed (IS) Sinmara (IS) Skálmöld (IS) Sólstafir (IS) Vampire (SE) The Vintage Caravan (IS)