So the other day I got an email from Árni, a Life in the Vinyl Lane reader from Iceland. Now, I know I write a bit about Icelandic music, but it still blows me away that I actually have readers there. This is likely a combination of being impressed about how the internet can connect people… as well as my complete lack of ability to learn a foreign language, whereas so many people (like Árni) in other parts of the world are multi-lingual. After four years of French in high school, followed by two more college level classes, about the best I can manage is to locate the bathroom and, if my pronunciation is good, I can ask you where the train station is (Où est la gare) and not accidentally ask you where the war is (Où est le guerre). I actually screwed this up once in France in 1987 and think I almost gave an old man a heart attack.
None of this of course has anything to do with Árni’s email, in which he suggested I check out an Icelandic death metal band called Sororicide and review their 1991 album, The Entity. Normally I don’t review albums that I don’t actually own, but Árni knew how to get my interest, telling me how original vinyl copies of this record have sold for thousands of dollars. What?! I was aware of the mythical Icecross record that sells in the $500 range, but had never heard of Sororicide or The Entity. Some quick internet searching revealed that this record appears to have sold for ridiculous prices on at least a few occasions, and there’s a copy for sale on Discogs for $2,000 right now if you have a few grand burning a hole in your pocket and a love of the dark arts. Lower condition copies look to still sell in the hundreds for cheap SOBs like me.
Fortunately the internet seemingly has everything every made or done on it (though thankfully I have yet to run across any particularly embarrassing photos of myself… yet), and it took me about five seconds to find a full copy of the album on YouTube. Death metal normally isn’t my thing, but I quickly discovered this isn’t your run of the mill super-fast-death-metal-growl-fest. Yes, it has some super fast parts. Yes, there is growling. But there is actually a lot of musicianship here and these guys don’t fall into the trap of just going full bore all the time. Sometimes they slow it down to a sludgy crawl. Sometimes they bring in some really fancy guitar work. Sure, the vocals are growled; but at times you can even tell they’re in English – which is great since with most death metal I can’t get to the words even when they are in English, and I don’t speak Icelandic (or unfortunately French, despite the efforts of a number of frustrated and well meaning teachers).
The Entity isn’t a one-trick death metal pony. It’s much more. I’m no death metal aficionado or anything, but Sororicide are by far the best sounding band of the genre I’ve ever heard. Sororicide vary the pacing of their songs well, keeping them from falling into a rut, and Gisli Sigmundsson’s voice is perfect for the band’s sound. If you’re looking to dip a toe into the death metal blood-and-gore filled pool, Sororicide is a great place to start. C’mon on in. It’s nice and warm.