Icelandic black metal invaded London in a big way on 18th April, with Misthyrming, Nadra, O and Nornahetta playing the Camden Barfly. Misthyrming have made big waves in the scene since their début album Söngvar elds og óreiðu was released in February last year, and with Nadra having the same line-up, and also sharing members with 0, it promised to be an excellent show.
On their EPs, show openers Nornahetta play exceedingly raw black metal with a touch of psychedelia,making them abrasive and inaccessible but interesting listens. They make their way to the stage in hoods and typical black metal attire, however the two piece lose something when moving from the studio to the live environment, unable to recreate their wall of sound. There’s little stage presence or atmosphere, and unfortunately it just comes across as simplistic and stereotypical black metal, uninteresting, and without a seconf guitar or bass, lacking in depth.
0 were up next on the bill and really kicked the night into gear properly. Their 2014 EP Null & Void was a great thirty minute track combining elements of DSBM, doom metal and post rock to create a unique and atmospheric release. Unlike Nornahetta’s typical black metal attire, they came out smartly dressed in black shirts, but more importantly, unlike the openers they managed to re-create their studio atmosphere in the live environment. With a great stage presence they build a controlled set up slowly and expertly, an engrossing black metal journey with a great atmosphere, the vocalist especially putting on a great performance. Evocative and impossible to tear your eyes away.
Nadra’s recent début album Allir vegir til glötunar is a solid slab of black metal that’s furiously epic while imbued of a great melodic sense, reminding of a more extreme modern Enslaved. Coming out shirtless and painted up like cavemen they put on an exciting performance, every band member having fun and putting a lot of energy into their playing. The harsh yells and screams of the album are fearsome in the live environment, and the fourteen minute melodic masterpiece Falið ended up being the highlight of the night, and Nadra’s the best set.
With most of Misthyrming having already played two sets with 0 and Nadra, one could be forgiven for thinking they might be flagging, but there’s nothing of the sort, they manage to change their presence and playing style once again with aplomb, moving from melodic and epic to dissonant and heavy. Coming out with bloodstained shirts they played an incredibly tight set of dissonant and headbangable black metal, recreating the twisted atmosphere of the album perfectly. After screaming madly in Nadra, DG howls and growls like a beast in a change of style, and with the hype of Söngvar elds og óreiðu their set was very well received. If they can keep their music and live performance as fresh and exciting on future releases they’ll be an even bigger force in the scene.
It promised to be one of the black metal gigs of the year and it certainly delivered. Nights like these don’t come around all the time and any fan of innovative modern black metal should be kicking themselves for having missed it.