Zhrine, Audn and Hubris at The Unicorn, Camden - live review

New wave of Icelandic black metal erupts

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The night’s only non-Icelandic band, Switzerland’s HUBRIS [5] have their moments, but their atmospheric post-rock proves uninspiring as much of the crowd abandon them for the balmy weather outside. Having ditched their corpsepaint almost two years ago in favour of black suits and hipster haircuts, AUÐN [7] now come across as a more eccentric proposition, turning up the heaviness with some powerful atmospheric black metal. With a husky voice evoking freezing Norse worlds but a strange Till Lindemann-esque way of posing on the stage, singer Hjalti Sveinsson personifies the band’s contradictory, yet authentic style. If their clean image is a device to make the music seem meaner, it’s working, though their music sounds better if you don’t watch them. Playing tracks from debut album Unortheta, ZHRINE [8] captivate with their introspective, experimental post-black metal, incorporating cello played with a bow into their sound. Guitarist/vocalist Þorbjörn’s brutal vocals combine screams with growls from the bowels of Hell, while long instrumental passages create a chilling sensation of an alien ambience. It proves an unusual night of extreme metal that highlights the unfathomable flow of inspiration and talent that continuously revamps this genre, placing Zhrine in particular high on the evolutional scale.