Showing posts with label Svanfridur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Svanfridur. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath - Best of 2015

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The Day After The Sabbath - Best of 2015 by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

The blog has now reached the ripe old age of six years! The past year of doing this has been a very enjoyable one - there's been two Dutch band profiles, Panda (119) and Blue Planet (127), a special and interview on the archival label World In Sound (114), a profile on krautrock producer Conny Planck (116), two heavy metal-inspired volumes; US (126) and NWOBHM (121), Scott Blackerby of The Acid Archives and Bad Cat Records (115) and a profile on The Gurvitz Brothers (125). Regional specials have honoured Spain again (123), Serbia (120), Portugal (113), Boston (117) and Iceland (124). Other themes have included Chicano rock (118) and a special on long prog tracks (122).

A year ago I promised I would be doing more interviews; I got an exclusive with the previously mysterious psych figure of Roy Rutanen and his band (link) and an exclusive with Jim Smith of Stonehouse (link). More exclusives came with Jaap van Eik of Panda (link) and Art Bausch of Blue Planet (link) and I spoke to four of the names appearing in Volume 126; Mike Gandia of Squadran, Danney Alkana of Alkana, Darren Welch of Axxe/Impeccable and Rob Griffin of Tyranny / Graven Image.

I hope that people still enjoy reading and listening to TDATS as much as I enjoy making it, here's to the on-coming year of many new ideas which are in the pipeline. As ever, please drop me a line via email or otherwise if you have any suggestions, and join up at the fb group where you can participate even more fully. My special thanks goes to the group admins that have increased greatly in number and efforts this year and been doing a great job there - you know who you are. Keep it PROTO guys :)

For what is now an annual round-up (last year's) of some of the best tracks appearing on the blog in the last year, here is a comp of fifteen tracks, one from each of the fifteen numbered volumes posted in 2015 so far. Enjoy!

01. Beatnicks - Back In Town (1972) - from v113
02. Gold - No Parking (1970) - from v114
       single and W.I.S. retrospective 'San Francisco Origins'
03. Fanny - Place in the Country (1971) - from v115
       from album 'Charity Ball'
04. Lokomotive Kreuzberg - Comeback (1975) - from v116
       from album 'Fette Jahre'
05. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby - Steel Dog Man (1969) - from v117
       from album 'Brother Fox and the Tar Baby'
06. Yaqui - I Need A Woman (1973) - from v118
       from album 'Yaqui'
07. Panda - Medicine Man (1971) - from v119
08. Pop Mašina - Vreme Za Nas (1975) - from v120
       from album 'Na Izvoru Svetlosti'
09. Fuzzy Duck - In Our Time (1971) - from v121
       from album ‘Fuzzy Duck’
10. Fusion Orchestra - Sonata In Z (1973) - from v122
       from album 'Skeleton In Armour'
11. Rockcelona - Queen, Friend And Dread (1979) - from v123
       from album 'La Bruja'
12. Svanfridur - My Dummy (1972) - from v124
       from album 'What's Hidden There?'
13. Gun - Runnin' Wild (1970) - from v125
14. Asia - Law Of The Land (1978) - from v126
       from album 'Asia'
15. Cinderella - The Love That We've Got (1971) - from v127

Starting the volume is one of its heaviest tracks, from Lisbon's Beatnicks. They made some of Portugal's best and heaviest rock in the '70s, with the "Cristine Goes to Town / Sing It Along / Little School Boy" and "Money / Back in Town" singles. They introduced progressive/electronic influences on later singles (youtube) which were good but very different, by the time of 1982's Aspectos Humanos album they had been through major line-up changes and seem to have become an inoffensive progressive pop band. Oh well, listen to "Back In Town" and it's clear they had the chops to become Portugal's top hard rock act, it's original and brilliant from start to end! Final members Ramiro Martins (bass, guitar), Antonio Emiliano (keyboards) and Tó Leal (vocals, percussion) all appear to have made more music later but nothing of interest here.

There is an interesting article here (portuguese, english), regarding the many changes the Beatnicks went through, including the brief membership of female singer Lena d'Água, and guitarist Manuel Cardoso, who was later in Tantra (coming later on here). Read Rock em Portugal's full Beatnicks bio here.


"A CD / LP combination. The CD contains 2 parts S.F. underground history with the first Gold line-up feat. lead singer Richard Coco. Their 45 record “NO PARKING” was already reissued on LP by Rockadelic and issued on the CD compilation “Nuggets from the Golden State”.

Part 1 (only on CD) are the Studio Sessions of Leo Kulka´s Golden State Recorders, 9 heavy guitar cuts (same as Rockadelic LP) with great congas and bizarre Rock´n Roll vocals and the previously unreissued 45-rpm flipside a 4:45 minute sensitive but totally unexpected version of Gershwin's "Summertime" produced by Country Joe McDonald (Country Joe and the Fish)."

"Part 2 of the CD is the vinyl release, a live set at the Fillmore-West Audition, a qualification gig for Bill Grahams club circuit, which was successfully passed - gigs at Winterland, Fillmore-West followed. These 42 minutes reach the highest level of power and a unique kind of heavy acid rock sound (especially the 6 min. killer version of “NO PARKING”) - Ed Scott´s hypnotic rhythm guitar, a mind blowing bass and drums create an outstanding and surrounding flow, Joe Bajza´s soaring solo guitar played in a kind of aggressive Cipollina / Jeff Beck style is brilliantly intense and brings true Sixties S.F. Hell´s Angels party feeling to your home. Detailed 12 page color booklet - 78 minutes of hot music reflect the “golden sprit” of the late60's early 70's in San Francisco....15 years later bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus…..continued these powerful Bay Area guitar excesses…"


Scott's RYM review here.  "Penned by Barclay, 'Place In the Country' was one of the album's best rockers. Nice showcase for the group's harmony vocals.   rating: **** stars"

"1971's "Charity Ball" found Fanny continuing their partnership with producer Richard Perry. Featuring largely original material (the one exception being a dynamite cover of the Buffalo Springfield's 'Special Care;), this time around the band seemed interested in showcasing their more commercial edge. Material like the title track, 'What's Wrong with Me?' and 'You're the One' seemed to have been crafted with an ear to top-40 airplay.

That wasn't to imply the band couldn't rock as hard as their male competitors. Nickey Barclay's 'Cat Fever', 'Special Care' (which I'd argue crushed The Buffalo Springfield original), and 'Soul Child' were all rockers that were worth hearing. Add to that, Jean Millington had a powerful, soul-infused voice, while June Millington was an overlooked lead guitarist with a penchant for fuzz leads. Interestingly, listening to the album for the first time in years, I guess the biggest surprise came in terms of band contributions. Jean and June Millington were clearly the band's focal points, but  being responsible for over half of the material, keyboardist Nicole Barclay was clearly the band's creative mainstay."

Lokomotive Kreuzberg

Lokomotive Kreuzberg Fette Jahre (1972)
Lokomotive Kreuzberg
Fette Jahre (1972)
Track 4 brings something a little different to the party. Lokomotive Kreuzberg was a Berlin polit-rock band that started in 1972. Not speaking German, it's impossible for me to comment on the lyrics, but the music on their 1975 album "Fette Jahre", engineered by Conny, is captivating. They mix many styles, from symphonic prog, to folk, to funk, to hard rock. At all times it is played with extreme talent, these guys sure had the chops to compare with the best. I have chosen the hardest rocking track on the album, which was recorded at Conny's studio, but you can take your pick from it. Others, such as the title track "Fette Jahre" (youtube), are equally good.

I've not had a chance to check out all of their four albums. I certainly will but they may not be the easiest band to get into for non-German speakers, especially as they use a lot of spoken-word skits to get certain points across on their agenda.

Brother Fox and the Tar Baby

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby
Track 5, "Steel Dog Man", starts as it means to go on with a stomping hard rock riff and tight playing, punctuated by glorious psych breaks, backed-up by earthy vocals that cut straight to the bone. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby featured the talents of former Profits guitarist Richie Bartlett, bassist Tom Belliveau, guitarist Dave Christiansen, drummer Bill Garr, singer Steve High and keyboardist Joe Santangelo. Dave Christiansen, Joseph Santangelo, Tom Belliveau and Richard Bartlett were previously in Front Page Review, also appearing in this volume. Belliveau  was also in Pugsley Munion (see vol59), and Bartlett was later in '80s new-wavers The Fools. They were signed by the small Oracle label, which released 1969's Bruce Patch-produced self-titled album. Christiansen was credited as writing all eleven tracks.

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby LP
This has a commercial edge and is a polished product, but it's done right and there's more than enough heaviness here too, over half the album is hard cuts with quite a unique take on combining late-'60s heavy psych with the chunky riffs and hammond organ of the freshly-emerging hard rock sounds of the times. This is what the first Boomerang album should have been like! (see Vol9)

The countrified feel, and high production quality with orchestration, shows that this was a serious stab at a successful album. The mellow tracks and ballads are all good, so make for a nicely diverse listen. The song-writing is consistently good, and the excellent vocals deserve a mention, sounding somewhat like Robert Plant in the heavier tracks. Highly recommended!

Panda - Stranger Medicine Man

Decca 6100013
Stranger begins deceptively, with a heavy Sabbathian tri-tone metal riff, but quickly morphs into a Slade-elic glam stomper with a sing-along chorus and more flashes of flute, great fun.  B-side Medicine Man is built around a similarly heavy, lumpen riff to "Swingin' About", this time with no flute and forays into blues, it's another of their best heavy tracks.

Pop Mašina

I consider there to be a 'big three' of heavy Serbain bands from the former half of the '70s, YU Grupa and Smak have already appeared so now it's time for the last of that trio, Pop Mašina (Pop Machine). They were formed in Belgrade in 1972 by Robert Nemeček (bass, vocals - formerly of Dogovor Iz 1804 and Džentlmeni. The other formative members on their two studio albums were Mihajlo Popović (drums) and Zoran Božinović (guitar - formerly in Džentlmeni).

Na Izvoru Svetlosti LP 1975
Their 1973 debut LP "Kiselina" (Acid), had contributions from members of S Vremena Na Vreme, Grupa SOS and acoustic band Dag. Although excelling in their heavy rock tracks like "Svemirska Prièa," the band played an equal amount of acoustic pop and folk-infused songs in a similar approach to Led Zep's album 'III'. The second and final studio album "Na Izvoru Svetlosti" (At the Spring of Light) followed suit, having a little more emphasis on the hard rock, with a great opener which is the track I have used in this comp, "Vreme za Nas". Track 2 gives you a good idea of their stage show with a live-recorded blues workout. Over-all this album is more consistent and you can hear the improved arrangements and more confident playing.

Fuzzy Duck

Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
A belated appearance from a record that that I surely should have used by now, as it's really good. This is the eponymous Fuzzy Duck LP, one of the older entries here, recorded in 1971. They play jazzy prog rock, with excellent musicianship, driving hammond organ and plenty of rocking riffs. Bassist Mick Hawksworth had previously been in Andromeda (Vol51) with John Du Cann, another similarly cool band. He was also in other TDATS bands, Killing Floor (see Vol7) and Toe Fat (Vol2). Drummer Paul Francis had been in The End, and briefly in this volume's opening band, Tucky Buzzard. The Duck enjoyed some radio play, including "A Big Word From D" and "Double Fine Woman", which were both favoured by BBC stations.

Fuzzy Duck in the studio
Fuzzy Duck in the studio
In the Esoteric Recordings CD re-issue Paul Francis stated that one of the major things that broke the band up was internal friction with guitarist and founder Graham White, which he regrets in retrospect. They managed to turf him out and replace him with Garth Watt-Roy (Steamhammer, The Greatest Show On Earth) who was a great guitarist, but it didn't go down well with the record company. After the Duck had quacked it, Graham White joined Capability Brown (Vol54), Paul teamed up with Chris Speading and Steve Harley, playing on a couple of Cockney Rebel LPs and Mick Hawksworth worked with Alvin Lee among others.

Fusion Orchestra

Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour line-up, clockwise from left, Dave Bell, Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour
line-up. Clockwise from left, Dave Bell,
Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson
and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra might be of interest to Babe Ruth fans, or those of Room. Frequently-heavy prog with a great front woman in Jill Saward, who also played flute, keyboard and more. The sole album 'Skeleton In Armour' is good progressive rock, drawing in many influences from Canterbury scene to hard rock, thankfully the band has a great attack and this LP keeps up momentum throughout, as you can hear in tracks like the one appearing here, and "Have I Left The Gas On?".

On the album, she is joined by the three founding members Dave Bell (drums), Stan Land (2nd guitar) and Colin Dawson (lead guitar). Dave Cowell played bass. Later in the bands' life Colin Dawson quit, so Alan Murphy took over, he later played in English pop bands Level 42 and coincidentally, Go West, who cropped up in the last volume via Hustler drummer Tony Beard. Although the band had a good live reputation, with fans frequently enjoying Jill Saward's titillating stage antics at the Marquee in London, they did not achieve commercial success on EMI and didn't get the green light for a second album. Jill had the most successful career afterwards, in the pop group Shakatak, and surprisingly none of the other players were in notable bands later. Colin Dawson started Fusion Orchestra 2 in 2008, in which he is the only original FO member.


Continuing into heavier territory, "Queen, Friend And Dread" from Barcelona's Rockcelona hits you hard.The LP it's taken from is like this all the way through, it never lets up. This unique and timeless collision between punk, heavy metal and garage rock recorded in 1979 is a real gem for anyone out there who looks for the ultimate in unrelenting fuzz. The group was founded in 1977 by Alfredo Valcárcel, and recorded only one album called "La Bruja" (The Witch).


Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- The Icelandic prog-rock band Svanfrídur released only one album, recorded six months after they played their first gig. This short-lived band rapidly rose to fame, receiving rave reviews for live performances, but in fact their music was way ahead of its time. They were unable to seal a recording contract so they formed their own label - Swan Records. When the album 'What’s Hidden There?' was released in autumn 1972 it got mixed reviews and sold only a few hundred copies, leaving the band with a great album but sadly not the income they had been hoping for. Recorded at London’s Majestic Studios the album was cut and pressed in England. Perhaps one of the best heavy prog / underground albums from Scandinavia with amazing guitar and all-English vocals. Would have been a famous and successful album on Decca UK.


Asia 1978
Not to be confused with the British "Asia", South Dakota's Asia made two LPs of heavy progressive rock and hard rock. They have an epic, regal quality to many of the songs, somewhat reminiscent of the kind of atmosphere conjured up by Led Zep's No Quarter or Kashmir for instance. They evolved from White Wing with members Michael English on vocals and multi-instrumentalist Mike Coates. Asia achieved some success playing the club circuit in the more urban areas of the upper Midwest. Their self-titled debut was recorded in two sessions at ASI studios in Minneapolis in 1978 and was privately released the same year.


Following is a snippet of the interiews I conducted with Art Bausch of Blue Planet and Betty Raadgever of Cinderella.

Cinderella in 1971
Me: Have you heard of the band Cinderella, that made a single in 1971?

Art: Yes, I did studio work with them on their first single, together with Aad and Peter. That was while Blue Planet was still going. I’ve been seen it on Youtube.

Me: Did you guys write the single or were you just brought it to the session?

Art: The main girl, Betty Raadgever wrote it. Their producer, Gerrit Jan Leenders, I did other work for him too. That’s how that started. My memory is good, especially of that period. Everything was so intense and every day was a party.

We take a brief diversion here to read some responses that Cinderella's Betty Raadgever kindly gave for this article.

Betty Raadgever
Me: Hi Betty, did Cinderella make any more music other than the single?

Betty: Cinderella did make more songs, but they are not recorded on a album, unfortunately. And of course I wrote a lot of songs after Cinderella for my other bands: Eyeliner and The Betty Ray Experience.

Me: I spoke to Art Bausch. I asked him about your Cinderella single and he confirmed that he, Peter and Aad Kreeft played on it. Did Blue Planet play on both sides?

Betty: Blue Planet played on both sides of the single, but I wrote the lyrics and music. Aad was a good friend of mine and we knew the other guys from Leiden/Oegstgeest, where we all came from. A very good band, Blue Planet!

Me: Did the other guys in Cinderella play or sing on it too (Renee, Bernardien, Nico)?

Betty; The singers on the record are Betty, Bernardien and Renee in the chorus. I am singing the lead, and the b-side, "The Love That We've Go", Bernardien sings. The guys from BP played all the music.

Me: Did Cinderella break up for any reason or did it change into a different band?

Betty: After four years I choose to switch bands and became lead singer of a hard rock band called "For Shame". Cinderella was over... After the hard rock period I had four other female groups: Trevira 2000EyelinerNasty Girls and The Betty Ray Experience. The other Cinderella members stopped playing in bands.

Me: Thanks Betty!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath 124: Dimmar Nætur [Iceland special]

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TDATS 124: Dimmar Nætur [Iceland] by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud
Welcome to the sixth Nordic TDATS, after Denmark (Vol72), Sweden (Vol75), Norway (Vol81), Finland (Vol88) and the first one, (Vol28), which was a mix.

Some time ago I discovered the heavy names that are generally known from the Nordic island country of Iceland; Trúbrot, Thor's Hammer, Óðmenn, Andrew, Icecross and Svanfridur. It's time to look further, and considering that in the seventies Iceland had a population of only 200-225 thousand, I found a pleasing amount of good stuff. Looking at the selection, this volume reminds me most of the Austrian volume [107]. Similarly to that one, I decided to flesh it out a bit by creeping up to the year 1981, the year of Iceland's very first heavy metal album from the band "Start". It's amazing that both countries produced a similar amount of good rock, considering that Austria had a population over seven million during the same period!

As is often the case for countries that didn't have a lot of heavy rock in the seventies, and also was for Austria, Iceland's alternative music scene came alive in the punk and post-punk years. I have included a 1980 track from Þeyr's first release. They were a legendary post-punk band that were comparable to Joy Division or Killing Joke, they were also a launchpad for The Sugarcubes, where Björk made her name.

Some honourable mentions go to notable Icelandic bands Náttúra, Hinn íslenski þursaflokkur, Eik, Spilverk Þjóðanna, Paradís, Mannakorn, Change, Stuðmenn, Þokkabót, Mezzoforte and Axel Einarsson's post-Icecross solo album. These range in styles including prog, folk, rock'n roll and fusion but they are not suitable for this blog's area of interest.

The cover art for this one is a 1918 painting called "Skógarhöllin", by Icelandic artist Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (wiki).


01. Trúbrot - Am I Really Livin? (1971)
       from album '....Lifun'
02. Thor's Hammer - I Don't Care (1966)
       from EP 'Umbarumbamba'
03. Óðmenn - Betri Heimur (1970)
       from album 'Óðmenn'
04. Andrew - Rockin an Rollin (1973)
       from album 'Woops'
05. Jónas Og Einar - Gypsy Queen (1972)
       from album 'Gypsy Queen'
06. Mánar - Söngur Satans (1971)
       from album 'Mánar'
07. Pelican - Á Sprengisandi (1974)
       from album 'Uppteknir'
08. Icecross - Jesus Freaks (1973)
       from album 'Icecross'
09. Jóhann G. Jóhannsson - Sentimental Blues (1974)
       from album 'Langspil'
10. Svanfridur - My Dummy (1972)
       from album 'What's Hidden There?'
11. Trúbrot - I Know You'll Come (1969)
       from album 'Trúbrot'
12. Þeyr - 555 (1980)
       from album 'Þagað Í Hel'
13. Start - Hjonalif (1981)
       from album '...En Hún Snýst nú Samt'

The Bands

Trúbrot - Lifun LPCourtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- In 1969 Trúbrot was the first supergroup ever founded in Iceland. After the début album with vocalist Shady Owens, "....Lifun" is the second album released in 1970 without Shady on vocals. After a last concert in Iceland with the original line up they invited Led Zeppelin and became friends with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. When Jimmy and Robert returned to their hotel at four o’clock in the morning they were amazed to discover that the sun was still shining bright. The sight of the midnight sun, the snow capped glaciers and the Icelandic geysers apparently inspired them to write The Immigrant Song for the third Led Zeppelin album.

Trúbrot 1969Trúbrot was very much influenced by the electric music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Led Zeppelin. They went to London to have Orange amplifiers custom-made for the band and to Copenhagen to record debut LP "Undir áhrifum" at the Wifoss Studio. The album became the best album of 1970. Really amazing male English vocals, great arrangements, guitars, organ. Psychedelic/Progressive Rock of the best kind, strongly influenced by the British underground. Tony Branwell of Apple Records said they were one of the two best bands he had seen perform on stage in the preceding six months.

Thor's Hammer, or Hljómar, was an Icelandic rock band primarily active in the 1960s. Outside of Iceland, they are known among music collectors for their rare releases on Parlophone, sung in English and recorded in London for export. The most famous of these is the 1966 EP Umbarumbamba, regarded as one of the rarest released records in the world and known to fetch prices into the thousands when a copy surfaces. 

Formed in Keflavik in 1963 under the name Hljómar (literally "Chords"), they soon became popular in Iceland at a time when local rock music was a rarity. By the mid-1960s they were recording in London on Parlophone Records for the international market. This record was recorded as a tie-in with a movie starring the band also entitled Umbarumbamba, but the film was not a success. From these sessions also came the singles "Once" and "If You Knew". The band even attempted a single entitled "Stay" in the United States on Columbia Records, which was produced by John Simon, known for his work with The Band and Big Brother and the Holding Company's album Cheap Thrills with Janis Joplin.

Odmenn (Óðmenn)
Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- A selftitled album was the only one that Icelandic progressive rock trio Odmenn ever released. It was made at a critical point in Odmenn's history when the band members had agreed to take a sabbatical year while the guitarist studied law at the University of Iceland. They got together for the last time a year after the album was released and split up directly after having played only one gig. Odmenn was formed in early 1966 by the Johannsson brothers playing the most popular music clubs in Reykjavik. Most of Odmenn’s music could be categorised as protest songs or social studies, touching topics like anti-war protest and fights against pollution, greed and deception balanced with more positive stances like hope for a better world with love and eternal brotherhood. "Psychedelic guitar pieces had become their trademark". Odmenn recorded this double album in Copenhagen with a release late December 1970. Odmenn made a great impression with their blooming mixture of energetic blues rock and was probably one of the best progressive rock bands in Northern Europe. 15 great songs released as a double album.

Andrew - Woops LP back
Andrew - "Woops" LP
back cover
The "Woops" LP is the scarce original 1973 first and only release by Andrew, a band formed by Júlíus Agnarsson and Andri Örn Clausen, playing heavy experimental psychedelic, progressive and artistic rock. Ómar Óskarsson (bass, vocals) and Ásgeir Óskarsson (drums, vocals) were previously in Icecross. The record is listed in the Hans Pokora '1001 Record Collector Dreams' book as a 4 star "True Rarity". The album was recorded at Incognito and re-mixed at Morgan & Soundtek Studios. It was published by Najö Productions. The members of the band, alongside Júlíus and Andri are among others guitarist Björgvin Gíslason (from Náttúra and Pelican),  drummer Ásgeir Óskarsson (from Pelican and Icecross) and Egill Ólafsson (from Thursaflokkurinn and Spilverk Þjóðanna) on piano and vocals.

Jónas og Einar
Jónas og Einar
Courtesy of (link) :- Singer and flute player Jónas R. Jónasson and singer and guitar player Einar Vilberg Hjartarson had a short but very remarkable collaboration. Einar Vilberg became known as an extremely promising song writer and troubadour in 1970 and he had released a very promising EP with Pétur Kristjánsson and drummer Gunnar Jökull Hákonarson. Jónas and Einar got together in 1970 when Jónas left the band Náttúra. They rehearsed together for a while and got used to each others’ groove.

The music they played was acoustic with a hippy feel to it and they sang in English, because they wanted to appeal to a broader market than Iceland. They were consequently invited to play at an international pop festival in Budokan, Japan.  They also released an album that was recorded partly in Sweden and partly in Iceland. The album sold well and received a lot of attention. After a few years collaboration the duet split up, Jónas turned to producing but Einar Vilberg commenced a solo career.  

Mánar band
Courtesy of (link) :- The band Mánar was formed in Selfoss in 1967 by guitar players and singers Ólafur Þórðarson and Guðmundur Benediktsson who had played together in the trio Bimbó since they were 13 years old, drummer Ólafur Bachmann and bass player Stefán Ásgrímsson. Stefán soon left the band and was replaced by Björn Gíslason. In the summer of 1967, Arnór Þórhallsson sang with the band and bass player Smári Kristjánsson also played with them. Soon after that Guðmundur Benediktsson left and was replaced by organ player Björn Þórarinsson. Mánar recorded three songs in 1970 and two of them were released on a single the same year.

After the album was released Ólafur Bachmann left the band and was replaced by Ragnar Sigurjónsson. That line up recorded two songs that were released on another single in 1970. Singer Mary McDowell sang with Mánar that summer. The band then wrote some songs for an LP. They got Gunnar Þórðarsson to assist them in the last rehearsals before they went on a trip to Denmark in November 1971 to record the album. In 1974, Mánar recorded two songs that were released on a compilation album and in 1975 the band split up.

Courtesy of (link) :- After a band called Pops, Pelican vocalist Pétur Kristjánsson did stints with Náttúra and Svanfríður. After Svanfríður died off in 1973, Pétur formed his most famous rock band, Pelican. Right from the beginning Pelican was a popular band and had a sweet sailing at the Icelandic ball scene. In 1974 the band went to Massachusetts, USA, to record an LP at the Shaggy Dog Studio, where the reformed band Hljómar had already recorded its ill-fated country rock opus Hljómar 1974. In America, Pelican got in contact with various biz-people, and for awhile it looked like Pelican would sign a record deal and hit the big time.

In 1974, Pelican was the biggest band in Iceland. The first song from the debut album, “Jenny Darling”, was released on a single in the summer, a frisky number that went on to become Pétur’s signature song. The song was the hit of the summer and when the album “Uppteknir” (a word-play, that can mean both “Unpacked” and “Busy”—the album cover featured the band inside a sardine tin), came out in the fall. It became the best selling Icelandic album yet, shifting 11,000 units.

I have used an instrumental track from Pelican's second album. "Á Sprengisandi" is an Icelandic folk song written by Grímur Thomsen (1820-1896). You can read more about it here.

Icecross was formed in Copenhagen by a bunch of like-minded Icelandic hippies. In 1973 they made and self-released one of the most talked-about albums in the realms of obscure heavy rock. It is especially known for its doomy sounds and it's as fresh today as it was when it was recorded. "Jesus Freaks" is a Paean to self-empowerment and the band makes no bones about it's attitude to religion in it's Christian-bating lyrics. Icecross members were all deeply involved with other bands, including many of those appearing in this comp, this album leaves a great legacy and you can read more at

Jóhann G. Jóhannsson Langspil LP
Jóhann G. Jóhannsson
Langspil LP
Track nine is a diversion into blues from an artist who did not otherwise make heavy music, it's a great song that fits nicely into this set, from a singer-song writer. Johann G. Johannsson was born in 1947 in Keflavik, Iceland. He is one of the most productive of Iceland´s songwriters. He is the author of hundreds of songs, of which more than two hundred have been recorded by various artists. He has composed music in many genres such as rock, pop, R&B and progressive rock. He stared a career as a musician back in 1966 as a singer and bassist.

Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- The Icelandic prog-rock band Svanfrídur released only one album, recorded six months after they played their first gig. This short-lived band rapidly rose to fame, receiving rave reviews for live performances, but in fact their music was way ahead of its time. They were unable to seal a recording contract so they formed their own label - Swan Records. When the album 'What’s Hidden There?' was released in autumn 1972 it got mixed reviews and sold only a few hundred copies, leaving the band with a great album but sadly not the income they had been hoping for. Recorded at London’s Majestic Studios the album was cut and pressed in England. Perhaps one of the best heavy prog / underground albums from Scandinavia with amazing guitar and all-English vocals. Would have been a famous and successful album on Decca UK.

Courtesy of Wikipedia (link) :- Þeyr was a renowned Icelandic new wave band from the early 1980s. Shrouded under a veil of mystery, their three-year existence was characterized by a deep interest in ancient wisdom. Þeyr helped bring about the new wave movement in Iceland and became one of the first Icelandic bands to be known abroad.

The origins of Þeyr date back to the late 1970s when singer Magnús Guðmundsson, bassist Hilmar Örn Agnarsson and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (drums and synthesizer) were playing in a garage band called Fellibylur (Hurricane). The band was expanded with vocalist Elín Reynisdóttir, who at the time was singing at a church choir, guitarist Jóhannes Helgason from a rock band called Piccolo, and drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson from Hattimas.

They called themselves Frostrósir (Frostroses) and played rock music and some Icelandic songs at dancehalls in Reykjavík and its surroundings. After a while they decided to change the band’s name and came up with Þeyr, which was drawn from a poem by Skuggi and it means Wind or Thaw in old Icelandic. Þeyr is exactly pronounced as þeir, which means they (male gender). They had a lot of association with English band Killing Joke, at one time Killing Joke front man Jaz Coleman moved to Iceland to collaborate. After Þeyr ended, drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson started The Sugarcubes, who had international fame.

Start En Hún Snýst Nú Samt
"… En Hún Snýst Nú Samt was Start's only album, released in 1981 and includes their local Icelandic hit “Sekur” (youtube). Singer Eiríkur Hauksson later went on to front the Norwegian hair metal band Artch. While it is regarded by some as Iceland's first heavy metal album, it is more "hard rock/pop with a metal image" to my ears, but it does have some elements of commercial metal of the times, along with the associated slick production approach, on a par with anything else from around the world. With it's boogie-rock basis, the track "Hjonalif" I used here demonstrates the best of the band along with “Sekur”.

Takk og góða nótt!

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