Some pretty fantastic compilations have come out of Iceland, starting with Rokk Í Reykjavík in 1982 and the three record SATT vinyl release in 1984, continuing with the SNARL cassettes in the late 80s, the near impossible to find Nælur CD in 1998, and finally to the newly released SNARL 4 CD (and uber limited edition of seven (yes, seven) cassettes) that just came out earlier this month. The punkish/new wave scene in Iceland has always been strong enough to ensure the comps are full of great stuff
While in Reykjavik for Airwaves this year I got my hands on anther such comp, one I’d never heard of before called Drepnir that came out in 1996, just before Nælur. However, whereas the later went back in time to the 1980s to get to the roots of Icelandic punk, Drepnir stayed a bit more contemporary. The guys at Lucky Records put a copy of this aside for me, and as soon as I saw that HAM and Pppönk were on it, it was a no brainer to buy it. I listened to it for the first time about a week ago, and I can’t get enough.
I normally don’t write about CDs, but this one is just that good. Nineteen tracks of assorted indie rock, pop-punk, electronica, and heavy metal from ten different bands fill the disc, and whoever compiled the playlist did a solid job of fitting the songs together and mixing up the styles a bit. I’m super partial to Pppönk’s female vocal pop-punk, but I also got some pleasant surprises from bands I’d never heard of before, like the techno stylings of Súrefni, the lo-fi slacker rock of Skoffin, Botnleðja’s killer cover of Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge,” and the bass-ey funkiness of Stolía. And of course let’s not forget HAM. We are HAM! Iceland’s favorite metal band contributes the pretty absurd live song “Airport” (Airport… Airport… Airport… We’re gonna to fly away…) which was actually recorded at their C.B.G.B.’s show in 1993 and apparently didn’t make it to the CBGB’s 7. Ágúst 1993 CD of that momentous occasion.
Pretty much everything on Drepnir is excellent – there isn’t a single song I find myself skipping past, and since the styles are well blended you don’t ever get into a rut. I’m not sure how you’ll be able to track down a copy of this, but if you do, it won’t disappoint.