I’m back on the compilation train!
I ran across this at the flea market in Reykjavik last month, and it’s a cool mix put out by Icelandic label Bad Taste Records. Einar Örn of Purrkur Pillnikk, Ghostigital, and The Sugarcubes fame was one of the driving forces in founding the label in 1986, and his reputation in the local music community ensured they’d be able to sign the cream of the Icelandic crop. And that’s evident by the bands who appear on World Domination or Death, Vol. 1 (1990), which is made up of two songs each by Reptile, Bless, HAM, and Bootlegs, and singles for The Sugarcubes and Oxtor.
We do not know what Bad Taste is.
Therefore we present to you
another taste in Icelandic Music.
World Domination or Death.
Know what I mean gringo.
— From back album jacket
This is an interesting combination of bands. On side A you’ve got Reptile, a band I haven’t reviewed here on the blog previously but will likely get to in short order since I have a couple of their records on my shelves, and who sound almost like a crazy Japanese pop band from the 1980s. Next up is Bless, one of the projects of the infamous Dr. Gunni, a prolific musician and top notch music historian who I was lucky enough to meet in person on the same trip that got me this record, who play a sort of early Cult style of rock. Then we get to HAM. We are HAM! The masters of Icelandic doom metal… who on this album cover Abba’s “Voulez Vous”. Nuf said. The Bootlegs then kick in and take the metal to the next level, playing a solid thrash style that speaks to fans of early Metallica like me. And finally The Sugarcubes who, let’s be honest, don’t require an introduction. The reverse side has the same five bands with the exception of The Sugarcubes, who are replaced by Oxtar and a sort of rockabilly tune called “Kontinental”.
The vinyl also contains some super-secret messages engraved into the runout grooves:
“We’re in charge. If that’s OK with you.” – Side A
“We will rule. Give or take an inch.” – Side B
World Domination or Death, Vol. 1 is one of the better Icelandic comps out there – while there are only six bands here, all of them are good and many were pretty important parts of the scene. Too bad there were no other volumes put out, as near as I can tell, but this one is definitely worth picking up on vinyl or CD.