I've got to admit, I find the continuing trend of "releasing" demos to be more than a tad ridiculous (especially when said demos are pressed on vinyl—it's a demo, for fuck's sake!). However, I'm going to have to eat my words here for a second, because we need to talk about Endalok. They're a brand-new black metal band who hail from Akureyri, a small city in northern Iceland, and who managed to catch the attention of Signal Rex, a Portuguese label that's been keeping its eye on the flourishing Icelandic scene. The latter is about to release Endalok's debut demo, Englaryk, on October 7, and please trust me when I say that you're going to want to hear it.
Unlike many of their peers, Endalok's take on black metal is far removed from the knotty complexities we've come to expect from that particular scene. Instead, they're heavy on gloomy, doomy tempos, shapeless howls, and thoroughly steeped in whispery midnight atmosphere. Englaryk is a tense, sprawling, utterly unholy melange of depressive black metal, mournful doom, and the darkest ambient, and marks yet another intriguing issuance from Iceland's blackened core.
And yeah, it's just a demo, but what does that even mean anymore? Demos used to be sloppy, barely-audible scratch takes, hastily recorded and shared with bandmates and friends; now, they get the deluxe vinyl treatment, are ballyhooed across every message board out there, and are even given their own PR campaigns. At this point, the once-lowly demo has become metal's answer to the hip hop mixtape, and if that's the case, Endalok's Englaryk is basically a black metal If You're Reading This It's Too Late.
Take a listen below, so you can say you were into them before they really popped off.
Kim Kelly is missing Iceland on Twitter.