None More Black: Black Metal Adventures in Iceland

Bare wiþ me, I’ll get to the Black Metal in a minute. About a year ago, I was persuaded by a friend to run an Ultramaraþon in Iceland. It didn’t take much persuasion as I’m a bit of a sucker for some pain and suffering, and Iceland was slowly edging its way to the top of the list of my places to visit next. An ultramaraþon is any footrace longer than a traditional maraþon (26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers) and the particular one on the table was the Laugavegur Ultra Maraþon, which is 55km long and includes a total ascent of about 1900 meters and a total descent of about 2200 meters. Sounds fun, eh? The run is set in one of the most scenically beautiful areas of Iceland and it follows the renowned Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk trail. It usually takes hikers about 4 to 5 days to complete the trail, but some of the crazy runners out there can do it in about 4.5 hours.

Now, any of you that have been involved in any distance running will know that the race day is the least of your worries. The real struggle, and where I get the most enjoyment, is the preparation. Just to give you an idea, in order to run one of these þings, I would need to build up my running to about 50-60 miles a week so that I would be able to perform at level that I’d be satisfied wiþ. More competitive runners would be running about 80-100 miles per week. The reason that I mention all of this is because during this preparation period, I GOT FUCKING INJURED! Just after I ran the New York Maraþon, I started to develop a mild case of plantar fasciitis and being the stubborn idiot that I am, I didn’t listen to my body and carried on running. This eventually resulted in a 5mm tear to my left plantar fascia and rendered the chances of me doing the race, null and void.

For the last six monþs, I’ve been a moody bastard, trying to stay away from running people and running talk, and þrowing my Runner’s World subscription straight in the blue bin just as soon as it arrives in the mail. I even contemplated not going at all as I was getting so depressed being surrounded by lifelovers talking about running this and running that. Fortunately, at the elevenþ hour my wife talked me into going and so it was, I found myself in Iceland trying to avoid the rest of the running group and trying to find someþing else to do while they were all off running.

Priority number one, Black Fucking Metal. What’s the first þing that you do when arrive in a strange land and want to find out where to see some live shows? You go to the public library, that’s what. Well, not exactly. You see, there aren’t a ton of public baþrooms in Reykjavik, so while I was wandering around, I copped sight of the library and þought I’d go inside to use the facilities. Feeling suitably relieved, I noticed a man leafing þrough some vinyl (they loan vinyl here) and approached him to see what he knew about venues. He reliably informed me that I should check out Húrra, Gaukurinn and Dillon. Wiþ my spirits lifted I got on the free wi-fi (which is everywhere in Iceland), and while these were all great suggestions, there was noþing on that I was remotely interested in. Dammit! Later that evening while crying in my beer at the Mikkeller bar (not because I was disheartened but because of the price of the beer), I got chatting to the bartender about my Black Metal hunt, and he said that although he didn’t know the kind of music that was being played, he’d heard that there was someþing going on at the Kex Hostel the following Saturday. After quickly finding the hostel’s Facebook page, I struck gold! Kex Hostel was hosting KEXPORT 2016 on July 16þ (race day), and guess who was on the bill? Mis-fuckin-þyrming, that’s who. Söngvar elds go óreiðu is one of my top 10 albums of 2015. I couldn’t contain my excitement and went and ordered anoþer þousand-dollar beer. Those of you that follow Black Metal will know that Iceland is a veritable hotbed of activity wiþ it’s molten lands spewing fire and brimstone on what seems like a weekly basis, and along wiþ Svartidauði and Sinmara, Misþyrming are responsible for some of these tectonic shifts.


For the next few days, the wife and I pottered around Iceland enjoying all that the country has to offer before returning back to Reykjavik for her to do the race and for me to enjoy more of what the country has to offer. KEXPORT 2016 is a free music festival that features twelve bands in twelve hours and highlights Icelandic music of all shapes and sizes. It’s truly exceptional that a country wiþ a population of a little over 300,000 has such a creative glut that they can put on someþing like this. But, and there is a but, free music festivals are usually terribad for people like me. Firstly, there’s all this music that I don’t know what to do wiþ. Hip-hop, RnB, Eurodancesomeþingorother. What am I supposed to do wiþ this? Secondly, there are all these people that I don’t know what to do wiþ. Free music festivals just drag out all the causals that would rather stand and chat wiþ their mates than enjoy the music. And worse than that, they bring their kids. I can’t count the number of times I was hit with a stroller. Anyway, after drinking a few beers and watching the first few bands I decided to head back to the apartment where I was staying and have a little snooze.


At about 7pm, I awoke from my slumber and made my way back to the venue for a burger, more beer, and to await the main event. I know that the Swiss are famous for their timing, but you could also set your watch by the event organizer’s timing. As soon as Singapore Sling finished their set, four gentlemen clad in hoodies and covered in soot (or was that volcanic ash) made their way onto the stage and started setting up. Although the venue was pretty full, nobody wanted to get too close to the stage, making it relatively easy to prance around snapping pictures like a fanboy wiþ a new toy. After a brief sound-check the band left the stage.


A few moments later wiþ the intro tape in full effect and the tension slowly ratcheting up, drenched in blood, Misþyrming took the stage. Blasting off wiþ “Söngur heiftar” it was full on savagery from the get go. Never have I witnessed such a ferocious display of blind fury in broad daylight, and at 10pm no less. As pretty much all the band members share duties among other bands in the Icelandic scene (primarily Naðra), they have no shortage of experience in delivering a performance wiþ more eye watering potency than hákarl (which, by the way, I did manage to stuff in my face).



D.G. is quite the performer, rallying the crowd at all the right moments and frequently making eye contact (rarely the case at Black Metal shows) wiþ his piercing blue eyes. Managing the cramped stage like a fucking boss, at no point during the set did his enþusiasm dip anyþing below 110%. I was absolutely enþralled from beginning to end.


Next up was the monstrous “…af þjáningu og þrá” followed quickly by “Endalokasálmar”, and at this point, I assumed that I was going to be treated to a full album play þrough (minus the interludes). I was wrong, very wrong. I don’t typically enjoy bands playing unreleased songs at concerts because I’m unsure when to bang my head and þrow the horns. This was absolutely not the case here. So while the next two songs were unfamiliar, they didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all because new Misþyrming is never a bad þing, and boþ the songs offered a new side to the band that I hadn’t heard before. They were a lot more melodic than any of the songs on Söngvar elds og óreiðu and the second one was particularly catchy. Maybe D.G. is satisfying his dissonant and chaotically creative output wiþ Skáphe, and is choosing to take Misþyrming in a different direction? This can only bode well for a new album.



The final song of the abbreviated festival set was the lengþy album closer “Ég byggði dyr í eyðimörkinni” and what a way to bow out. Þirty-five plus minutes of pure Black Metal excellence!




Now that I’m back at home I’ve had time to reflect on the trip and although I was initially dreading it, it turned out to be magnificent. While I could have moped around all week while everyone else was getting excited for the race, I at least had someþing to look forward to on race day. It gave me a little bounce in my injured step every time I þought about it. And the best part? I get to plan anoþer trip to Iceland to take care of some unfinished business. Laugavegur will be mine.

Written by:

Published on: July 27, 2016

Filled Under: Reviews, Swellin' to the Jammiez

Views: 4755

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  • All of the black metal and Satan in this post, and that one dude is sporting an Infest hoodie. Right fucking on! Haha!

    Great write-up man. I wish I could travel around the world like you do and see cool shit all of the time. Fucking so rad! Also can’t wait for new Misþyrming material.

  • Howard Dean

    More of that melodic riffing on the next Misþyrming album would certainly be welcome. Everybody and their brother is trying to do the chaotic black metal/death metal stuff nowadays (and most suck at it). Misþyrming’s strength really lies in their melodic riffing and emotionally-tinged atmosphere. That’s what sets them apart, and what really makes them great.

    • Howard Dean

      P.S. Glad to see the None More Black tradition continuing. This was a fun read. I have dreams of visiting the Nordic/Scandinavian countries at some point. Probably will settle on England/Scotland/Ireland and/or Germany for the sake of convenience/cost. Would love to drink strong ale at a bierhaus in Bavaria!

      • Owlswald

        Having been to Scandinavia, you should absolutely not miss it.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Backed. Absolutely gorgeous part of the world.

      • Farts In A Maggot Factory

        Lol, knowing my budget, I could probably afford a weekend in Baltimore or Flint, and that’s about it.

        • Howard Dean

          I’m kind of old school. I use my cash primarily on assets rather than experiences. So I usually don’t travel as much as others. But that’s a personal choice.

          • Dagon

            You need a trip to the hedonist side of life. Just for a bit.

          • Howard Dean


            But dat mortgage payment is so hot right now…

      • InfinityOfThoughts

        Right there with you brother!

      • The Wolf

        Norwegian Air has cheap flights to most of Scandinavia. Just have to go between like October and early April. Perfect for Blastfest in Bergen in February (which is what I did).

    • I can totally back up a more melodic Mispyrming! 🙂

  • Stockhausen

    That was a blast to read. Iceland is definitely one of my dream destinations, and I can’t imagine how rad it must have been to randomly catch those dudes. HAIL.

  • The lady and I are planning a trip to Iceland. Gonna pass on the ultramarathon but we’ll definitely try the hákarl.

    • Stanley

      When are you planning on going? Summer is nice for outdoor stuff, but it would be very cool to go in winter to see the Northern Lights. You should definitely give the hákarl a go. I also had a bit of whale (I know I shouldn’t have but whatever) and I didn’t care for it too much. Looks like meat, tastes like fish.

      • I have a ton of vacation time I have to use by winter. Trying to work with her schedule though. What’s the deal with the expensive beer? How much can I expect to pay for a pint?

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Depends on the bar, but around $7-8

          • 🙁

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Worth it.

          • The Wolf

            It was about the same when I was in Norway, maybe more like 8-9 bucks. People from abroad were complaining and I was like, “what? It’s pretty much the same prices you get when going out in Hollywood- West LA.”

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Plus you get to be in Norway, which makes it totally worth it.

        • Stanley

          Most of the lager type beers are about 900ISK and if you are in Reykjavik there is an App called Appy Hour and it tells you all the bars that have happy hour at any particular time. You can then get it for 600. The Icelandic craft beer is a lot more expensive and can be in the 1200-1400 range. That shit I had at Mikkeller was 1600. $1 = 121ISK. In Iceland the tax/service is include so what you see is what you pay. No tipping. I guess it’s not that bad when you consider everything. (Except the craft stuff).

        • Farts In A Maggot Factory

          A lot of things there are expensive, since a lot of things have to be imported. That probably goes for the barley for the beer, since practically nothing grows over there.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Where did you try hákarl?

        • Stanley

          At the shark museum/factory/processing plant near Stykkishólmur. There are places in town that I saw it as well.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Very cool. Did you get out toward Vík at all? We tried ours there.

          • Any food items we should try that aren’t a disgusting novelty?

          • Stanley


          • Oh shit I thought you were kidding about eating them.

          • Stanley

            Lots of fish (cod/artic char) on the menus everywhere. Not too much beef. Horse in a few places.

          • Farts In A Maggot Factory

            I’d have to wonder what those weird little horses they have taste like.


          • Farts In A Maggot Factory

            Nope, it’s a staple there and the Faeroe Islands.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            There are hot dogs everywhere. They’re awesome.

          • Fish balls.

          • Stanley

            Nope, we didn’t make it that far around. I wanted to go that way to see the glacier lagoon thing, but I had to prioritize seeing puffins over blocks of ice.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Seeing and eating them. They are delicious.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    very cool and very jelly, stan

  • Seems as though seeing a band perform in such a raw atmosphere (no stage lights, small stage), would be absolutely clutch. The artist would have to pull out all the stops. Glad you had a great go it !


  • Owlswald

    I always think its funny when a band sets up, then leaves the stage, and immediately comes back to an intro track. Being a musician, I get it’s part of the show and all that but it doesn’t really work when the crowd has already seen you for the last 15-30 minutes dicking around with gear. It’s even better when local bands do it and the drummer won’t S.T.F.U during set up.

    P.S. After running a marathon, you’re crazy for wanting to do an ultra.
    P.P.S I want to go to Iceland..badly.

    • Stanley

      I get what your saying, but the sheep’s blood has to get slathered on at some time.

  • I’ve always thought Iceland was a nice country after it restructured its banking system after the economic collapse of 2008. I’ll probably never get there so I will just have to sip Einstock porters instead.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Awesome article, Stan. You make me miss Iceland something fierce. I was in Reykjavik a couple months ago and I think I love it more than any other city ever. We even went to the Kex Hostel the night before we left (I remember looking out into that courtyard pictured above) and I was kicking myself that we didn’t stay there. The long daylight hours are amazing, aren’t they?

    • Stanley

      Yes, they are. It didn’t get dark at all when we were there. The phone said sunset 11:30pm and sunrise 3:30am, but that was hogwash. All that happened was the daylight was less bright.

      Reykjavik was cool, but way too many tourists (and Puffin shops) for my liking. Also it seems like all the old corrugated iron houses are getting torn down for condos 🙁 It was very nice to get out into the countryside.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Agreed, we saw many tourists too. As an American, the worst part about traveling seems to be running into other Americans who can’t stop their incessant blathering about themselves.

        How did the marathon go?

        • Stanley

          You should probably read the story. lol.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Ah I see… caught me skimming articles again. That sucks but sounds like you had a pretty good experience anyway.

      • RustyShackleford

        Can confirm. We were there basically during the solstice and the sun doesn’t REALLY go down. There were definitely a lot of tourists, but I didn’t mind so much. Some shit is definitely aimed at tourists but it isn’t so bad. As opposed to Prague, where we went later on our trip, where people took one look at my Mets cap and immediately everything is double the price and bullshit.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Would you say it was top Kex?


  • Farts In A Maggot Factory

    I’ll probably never be able to afford it, but I’d definitely love to visit the old country one of these days! Gleði að vera svo ég léleg! :-p

  • I never realized how giant of a human their drummer is.

  • ME GORAK!!!™


    • Stanley

      Does it!!!!! I’d rather have broken my leg than put up with this shit. At least with a break, you know when it is going to heal. It is finally getting a bit better though, and there are a more than a few moments each day when I don’t think about it.

      • How long ago did you tear it?

        • Stanley

          February 7th. 8:13am.

          • 6 months and two days, shit!

          • Stanley

            Yep. Probably going to have to kiss goodbye to my Chicago marathon entrance fee.

          • Farts In A Maggot Factory

            Never been to one of those in all my years there, but there’s no way in hell I’d run in the middle of a Chicago summer. *cringes when I think of the smell of the red and green lines on hot summer days*

          • Stanley

            It’s in October.

          • Farts In A Maggot Factory

            Whoopsie, I thought it was in the summer time! IIRC, one of the marathons there was in the summer. Walk For A Cure, perhaps?

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    This was a phenomenal read, I’m glad you had some fun Stanley. I look forward to your next installment.

  • RustyShackleford

    Iceland is fucking rad. I stayed at Kex when I was there last month and LOVED it, although I didn’t get this rad fucking black metal. You lucky bastard!! Yep!

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    My frozen heart swells at reading this. Iceland has been on my list to visit for some time now.

    Now, if only I could convince my gf to go…

    • Stanley

      Just show her this. (RFI)

      • InfinityOfThoughts

        See, now that’s something I can work with. Cute animals always help sway opinions.

  • Hans Müller

    Okay, you get a pass on “with”, but there’s no way “another” has a voiceless th. YOU DUN GOOFED!

    Don’t mind me, I’m just jealous really.

    • Stanley

      I’ll admit that one was a bit of a stretch.

  • Waynecro

    Awesome story and photos, man! Thanks for sharing this awesome experience.

  • Great review, Stan, you clearly enjoyed this <3

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    I’m just going to keep telling myself that having children is way cooler than traveling the world seeing the coolest bands

  • Toilet Meetup in Iceland. 2019. Be there or . . .

    . . . don’t.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Be there or be lolbuttz