Katla is one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland. Situated along the southern coast, it blows on average twice per century, sometimes quite spectacularly. The most recent large eruption was in 1918, lasting for 24 days and adding an additional five kilometers to the island’s coast.
Katla. (with the period) is also a metal band from Iceland. It was formed by a different kind of eruption than that of its namesake, this one the unexpected and very public splitting of the band Sólstafir. The only thing clear to us outside of the situation is that in early 2015, right before the band left Iceland for a tour, drummer and founding member Guðmundur Óli Pálmason was fired from Sólstafir, apparently by email. Gummi has written a bit about the situation and the resultant litigation HERE, and the band released a statement as well. I don’t pretend to have any kind of scoop about the cause(s) of this, but it’s certainly unfortunate on a lot of levels. The only benefit of the breakup is that, much like the 1918 volcanic eruption did to expand Iceland’s land mass, so too this Sólstafir eruption gave us a new and excellent band in the Icelandic music scene, Gummi’s new project with Einar Thorberg Guðmundsson (formerly of Fortíð), fittingly named Katla..
It seems strange to classify Katla. as metal. The intricacy of their music is certainly metal-like, and there are heavy parts (see “Hreggur”), but what defines Katla. sonically is a gloomy weight. I’ve seen them described as post-rock as well, which is probably more apt though also more pretentious-sounding. The music is textured and layered, the vocals originating from deep within the diaphragm and at times conveying a sense of anguish, not in a painful rage-like black metal growl but more one colored by hopelessness. It’s probably not a huge surprise that this reminds me a bit of Sólstafir, though I feel like Katla.’s sound is quieter and more introspective.
You can give Móðurástin a listen HERE.