For a country with a population of just over 325,000 people, Iceland has been making a surprising number of contributions to heavy music. Flying their native flag in the name of thunderous, Viking-friendly brutality, Skàlmöld have been spreading their tales of Icelandic mythology across mainland Europe over the last few years, and new album Me∂ Vættum sounds like the perfect way to cement that relationship.
“We wanted to incorporate our Viking and heathen heritage into our music and to use the sagas and Norse mythology as a reference point for the lyrics,” states guitarist/vocalist Björgvin Sigursson.
“We didn’t want to just namedrop a few old gods. We use the culture and the Icelandic landscape to provide a setting and the mythology to spice up the stories. We all have different influences too, and somehow we manage to make logical songs.” The band’s third album, Me∂ Vættum draws from ancient sagas to tell the tale of a female hero who protects Iceland from invading forces.
“In each of the four periods of her life, the land is attacked,” Björgvin explains. “She is assisted by the guardian spirits of the land, from old folklore. We have an eagle in the North, a dragon in the East, a giant in the South and a bull in the West. So for those who understand Icelandic, we want to make them feel like this character is the reason that we are still here and we owe her our lives!”
With grand touring plans for the next 12 months, Skàlmöldm look primed to mirror the epic battles in their songs, invading and conquering new territories and making heads bang wherever they go. Iceland may be a tiny nation, but its power and influence are gaining strength and momentum.
“Our scene is definitely growing and growing but I don’t know why!” laughs Björgvin. “I think Icelanders were just in need of something heavy and dark! It’s a good time to be a metalhead in Iceland now.”
ME∂ VÆTTUM IS OUT NOW VIA NAPALM. SKÀLMÖLD TOUR THE UK WITH ELUVEITIE THIS MONTH