Demo:listen: Óreiða

Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, grind, black, doom, sludge, heavy, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we venture into the surreal, purplish and icy realm of Reykjavik’s Óreiða.

The latest black metal demo to come from Iceland is the work of a one-man band called Óreiða, meaning “chaos” in English. Óreiða’s Demó I, meaning “demo 1,” may only be three short tracks, but each song, regardless of its length from beginning to end, harbors a chasm of immense depth and wonder. In just two minutes, the opening number, “Inngangur” (or “Introduction”), transports the listener to a strange world where black metal is beautiful and melancholy brings with it a peculiar elation. We spoke with T.G., the maestro of this maelstrom, to better understand this latest Icelandic anomaly, Óreiða.

I’m located in the center of Reykjavík . . . But I am a pretty isolated person socially. I do not work with a lot of different people or deal with them all that much day by day. I prefer solitude most of the time,” says T.G. when asked why they decided to take the soloist approach to their black metal. Although T.G. explains that they have “been creating all kinds of extreme music in various projects for the last 15 years or so.” Which certainly helps to illuminate the verve and skill displayed on Demó I, if not necessarily explaining how it’s so righteous. Take the second song, “Eldhríð,” which translates to “firestorm.” This song was, according to T.G., inspired by the “extreme blizzards” that are regular occurrences in Iceland. Certainly the atmospheric qualities of this song evoke images of a snowstorm carving across an abandoned landscape, but the riffs speak of a fiery resilience, and an irrepressible energy, the way they cut through all the haze and static, to burn like colorful lights in that black metal whiteout.

“My biggest influence would probably have to be Darkthrone,” T.G admits. “Getting a copy of Transilvanian Hunger as a teenager is the reason I’m into Black Metal to begin with. But bands like Ildjarn, Paysage d´Hiver, Bone Awl and Urfaust have all definitely informed where I wanted this project to go.” Furthermore, T.G. proves to be as forthcoming with revealing their intentions for Óreiða as they are divulging who their major influences are. “I wanted to get this project off the ground, and manifest it as an existing thing. But of course I’d enjoy it as well if people checked it out and liked it, otherwise I would have just kept it to myself! And I’d like to find some people to work with to put out more of my music in the future of course but I don’t know if I could honestly say that was something I consciously wanted to accomplish with the demo.” Oh, and yes, “Skuggin” (or “Shadow) is supposed to end abruptly like that. According to T.G.: “I enjoy playing with the functionality of the music and also with contrast. I liked the idea of starting it off with a relatively long intro (compared to the length of the demo) and then just ending it abruptly.”

Good news for all you hoarders out there: Fallow Field will eventually release Demó I on tape in the U.S. Meanwhile, T.G. is already hard at work on new material. With a demo this unique, it’s easy to get excited for future material, but let’s not lose today dreaming about tomorrow. Demó I is a weird and fascinating journey that’s worth taking again and again. And then many more times when it’s finally out on tape.

Check this spot next and every Friday for promising new metal.