Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not that I bragged about it or anything, but I went to Iceland last month and the aftershock still resonates in me quite strongly, not only caused by the amazing scenery or the kickass bands I discovered, but also because of the unlikely amount of great new friends I've made there. No better excuse, then, to start showing them how annoying I can really be and subject one of them to the 10 rounds treatment. Gisli was the best host I could ever dream of during my stay in Neskaupstaður - he provided me with a very nice place to stay, free internet, drove me around to the sound of Ghost (and a few seconds of wimp-period Enslaved, quickly corrected), put up with my drunken ramblings to the wee hours of the morning, and topped it all off with an ear-splitting performance fronting his band, Beneath. If you don't know them, shame on you - they've played the ever-brutal Neurotic Deathfest for example, and they slay. Their debut full-length is about to come up, so keep your ears pricked for that one. Gisli was also a member of Sororicide, and if you don't know them, you can leave the hall.

1. You know how Decibel have an article called Justify Your Shitty Taste? Here’s your chance to justify yours – feel free to get off your chest everything that you really, really love about Morbid Angel’s new album. And what made you get the t-shirt on top of it.
Haha bastard! Alright, here goes. First of all I'm a huge fan of Morbid Angel with David Vincent so having him back was always going to be a big plus for me. And I have to say that his voice is great on the new album. So that's probably what I like most about it. Admittedly there are songs on the album that I would have preferred they released on an EP or something, but overall I would say it's a good album, if not great, and vastly superior to Heretic. As for the t-shirt, I saw them again at Hellfest this year and they were so good that I was compelled to buy a t-shirt. Also, I look great in a Morbid Angel t-shirt!
[That's reasonable. Here's an idea - any other freaks out there who like that album, do email me and I'll compile the best justifications on a future post. Neil, I might publish what you've told me about it, beware!]

2. As I have mentioned to my readers before, my mnemonic for remembering your name involved thinking of Gimli, just for the resemblance of the name. But if you had to be one Lord Of The Rings character, which one would you be?
Since Gimli is hands down the coolest character in the Lord Of The Rings and the one that I most resemble (short hairy dude!) I would pick him without any hesitation!

3. Alright, enough stupid questions. Introduce all these nice people reading to your current kickass band, Beneath, so that no one is left in painful ignorance.
I'm the vocalist in the Icelandic death metal band Beneath. We're a fairly new band, formed during the winter 2007/2008 and we currently have one release out, an EP called 'Hollow Empty Void' that was released by Mordbrann Musikk in 2010. [which he was kind enough to give to me, and it kills. Get it.] We play fast death metal that has been described as both technical and brutal, although I feel that neither tag fits us completely. We have our debut full length, 'Enslaved By Fear', coming out later this year on Unique Leader Records.

4. One of your guitar players actually bled all over his guitar onstage during Eistnaflug (evidence), which is very appropriate. Are you thinking of turning that into a habit?
That's an idea, it could be our gimmick! Although I'm not sure that Jóhann (our bleeding guitarist) would like the it very much.

5. You’ve told me recently only the artwork needed completion before Beneath unleash tha long awaited full length debut – what’s the feeling of finally having a proper album out, and how do you think it improves on the EP?
It's difficult to describe it. We've been waiting for the release for quite some time now, so it's a mixture of excitement and relief that the wait is almost over. And for me, the album is an improvement in all areas when compared to the EP. I think it's fair to say that it's broadening our sound a bit without changing the fact that we play fast death metal. And there is a slow song on it which is quite new for us as well. We play better on it and I feel that we've improved our songwriting. Sound wise it doesn't hurt at all that it's mixed by Daniel Bergstrand so it sounds better as well.

6. You’re not exactly a newcomer, and you’re an important musician in the Icelandic metal scene, so your expectations for Beneath’s future are probably very realistic – so, what are they? Do you think the band could turn into a well known entity in Europe, with regular touring, for example? The potential is surely there.
Well, we are keeping our expectations modest right now, of course we could like to be able to support ourselves and our families by playing death metal, but realistically it's not something that we can count on. But we're definitely aiming to do some touring and playing festivals, then we just have to see what options we have. Worst case scenario, we keep our day jobs and keep writing and releasing music that we like. I could think of worse things.

7. Speaking of former bands, dude, Sororicide. I remember having a Sororicide tape back in the day, and I just realized you played for them after I left Iceland. I suppose yet another reunion with that band is out of the question?
I used to say that Sororicide would never play another gig again and I was proven wrong. Granted, it took us 15 years from when we called it quits until we played those four gigs in 2009 and 2010, but I don't think it's very likely. Maybe in another 15 years, who knows.

8. Yet another of your former bands, Drep, had a release, and a song on that release, called 'Plunger'. It is necessary that you share the complex concept behind this title with us now.
To be absolutely honest, to this day I have absolutely no idea what that song is about. I did some backing vocals in the chorus, but that was only the word plunger repeated over and over again. It was a good song though.
[any song called 'Plunger' would be, honestly.]

9. Managed to get that Ghost CD out of your car stereo yet? If so, what’s been spinning there lately?
No, the Ghost CD is still stuck there, but now it's because it's our six year old's new favourite band! I'm not complaining mind you, but now and then I can sneak in something more extreme such as Belphegor, 1349 or Behemoth, or when we're looking for something more laid back Enslaved or The Devil's Blood for instance. But Ghost rules supreme in my car stereo these days.
[I want a six year old like that.]

10. Last question is list question – list ten albums that had the most importance to you while you were growing up, musically speaking at least. Basically, the albums that made you a metalhead, and made you want to be a musician.
Now, this is probably the toughest question. Just 10? Ok, here goes, not in any particular order though. I'm probably forgetting some albums, but these are the ones that stick out in my memory at least.

Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time
Slayer - Reign In Blood
Motörhead - Rock 'n' Roll
Metallica - Master Of Puppets
Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
Judas Priest - Priest Live
Kreator - Extreme Aggression
Death - Leprosy
Morbid Angel - Altars Of Madness
Sepultura - Beneath The Remains

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