Start – “En Hún Snýst Nú Samt”

startenhunsnystnusamtI found this on eBay a few weeks ago, and the buyer was surprised to get a bid on it so quickly – I think I had my bid in within the first hour of it posting.  We exchanged some emails and he was excited about the prospect of seeing this record reviewed on the blog, since he’d never listened to it, so we were both glad I was able to win the auction so I’d have a chance to give it a spin.

Where to start with Start… En Hún Snýst Nú Samt was the band’s only album, released in 1981 and includes their local Icelandic hit “Sekur.”  I was interested to learn that singer Eiríkur Hauksson later went on to front another band I’ve reviewed here, the Norwegian hair metal band Artch… there always seem to be connections when you’re dealing with Icelandic bands and musicians.

I’ve seen En Hún Snýst Nú Samt described as both heavy metal and hard rock, and while to my 2014 ears both those descriptions seem like a bit of a stretch (as in a major stretch), we have to try to put things into context and remember that this record is 33 years old.  So this is heavy metal the way Deep Purple is heavy metal, not the way that Metallica is.  Even then, though, I still think it’s a bit light to be considered metal.  I hear some new wave influences here, and parts that remind me of Rush, Yes, and Rick Springfield – which I know doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, but it’s what I’m hearing.  There are elements of sweeping, grand guitar work, soaring vocals, and the obligatory early 1980s saxophone.

The guys absolutely adopted the heavy metal look of the era:

startenhunsnystnusamtreverse

En Hún Snýst Nú Samt is some decent if dated rock ‘n’ roll.  This was re-released on CD in 2011 with five bonus tracks added to the original ten, including a few that were recorded in 2004 and 2006 when members got back together.  All the songs are in Icelandic… though I swear at least one verse on “Ræfilsgrey” is in English.  It’s available for purchase via download HERE, and you can listen to some samples there as well.

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