Traditional Metal from Iceland
Iceland is a tiny island-country filled with a plethora of natural beauty – its icy shores are decorated with lagoons, glaciers, volcanoes, and hot springs. With a current day population that is barely over 300,000, this is one of the last countries that you would expect to find classic heavy metal. Yet here we are with Drysill’s debut – Welcome to the Show. Drysill are a unique band for a number of reasons. Having formed in 1983, they are the first band to come out of the land of fire and ice. Drysill are also the first music project for extremely talented vocalist Eirikur Hauksson, also known as Eric Hawk. Eric has been in a number of projects, metal and non-metal, including the top notch Norweigan power metal band Artch. Eric’s vocal prowess earned him a spot to represent Iceland during the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.
Given their early involvement in the scene, Drysill have earned themselves the nickname “Iron Maiden of Iceland” by some. Much like with Ария(Aria), I find that naming silly and dismissive of the band’s distinct sound. The music found on Welcome to the Show is not very reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s signature twin guitar melodies and galloping rhythms. This album is a rocker through and through and shares far more similarities with bands like Dokken or W.A.S.P than Iron Maiden. The only similarities that I see are in the vocals – Hauksson has a voice and delivery style very similar to Bruce Dickinson.
I’ve already mentioned him plenty, but vocalist Eirikur Hauksson really is the highlight of this record. Having received accolades from legendary vocalists such as Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickinson, his aptitude as a rock/metal vocalist is unquestionable. It seems to me that the songs were written and constructed in a way to highlight this fact. Eirikur’s voice has a lot of power and character behind it. He’s able to deliver catchy and compelling vocal melodies without once compromising the dynamism behind them.
The songs on this record are very much rooted in hard rock, perhaps even more than the majority of their peers over in England. You won’t find blistering fast solos, crushing riffs, or jaw-dropping melodies here. As is evidenced by tracks like “Left-Right” (a song about the swaying nature of women’s hips) and “We’re Coming to Rock You”, Welcome to the Show is a light-hearted but very fun journey. The production tying it all together is surprisingly solid given the time period and the fact that this band was the first of their kind in Iceland.
At the end of the day, Welcome to the Show is an interesting piece of metal history, but not much more. The original pressing of this album was only limited to 1000 copies and as a result of its relative rarity and novelty, it’s become a bit of a collector’s item. It’s really cool to witness the genesis of Hauksson’s decorated career in action.
Favorite Track: Don’t Shoot Me Down
Album Rating: 75/100
This review is dedicated to my friend “MOB”, whose intense infatuation with the modern Icelandic black metal scene is a cause for concern.