KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2017, Day 4: GlerAkur

Iceland Airwaves
11/04/2017
Katy McCourt-Basham
Photos by Jim Bennett

Next on the video stream live from Kex Hostel at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival was Icelandic atmospheric metal band GlerAkur. The solo project of sound designer for National Theater of Iceland Elvar Geir Sævarsson, creating post-rock flavored metal. His debut record The Mountains Are Beautiful Now was released earlier this year to much acclaim, comprised of five long tracks each ebbing and flowing gorgeously into one another. I hate to take the cliché route of comparing Icelandic music to its native landscape, but his sound truly something carved from a glacier and lit by the Aurora Borealis—a summation of many things inherent to this place, beauty tinged with darkness, and a healthy Nordic love of heavy music.

Their first song, "Willocide," blasted the eager audience with a wall of sound right from the get-go. A face-melting piece with blistering guitar riffs, a shoegazey vibe, and two drummers, it was both atmospheric and heavy in a way reminiscent of Mogwai. The songs were so lengthy that there filled their set with only two, and after thundering applause and a jolting shout of "HEY!" they launched into "Strings," a much softer, textured post-rock song that percolates slowly, boiling up into an epic, cathartic cacophony. Considering his job not surprising that he’s adept at building complex soundscapes. Long hair flew at the apex of the storm of sound, the enthralled with their stunning performance.

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