2014 is shaping up to be the year of Icelandic black metal. With fantastic releases from Naðra and 〇 already confirmed, a mysterious release appears from Svartidauði as if plucked from the ether. Svartidauði has already had reasonable praise for their 2012 debut Flesh Cathedral as well as a handful of demos. In fact, the band released an already decent EP earlier this year entitled The Synthesis of Whore and Beast. That being said, their new album,III.XX.MMX, may not be the most traditional introduction for this band but its uniqueness is nothing short of apocalyptic.
III.XX.MMX is a live recording from Svartidauði from the night of March 20th 2010. The date coincided with the beginning phase of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruptions, which left air traffic in chaos not only for Iceland but for a large portion of Europe. Following the recent eruption at Bardarbunga, the band has released a digital copy of the show in 2010 to celebrate in the chaos of environmental violence. While this whole thing seems like an almost comedic heavy metal celebration, the band’s music combined with the odd set of circumstances leads to one of the most memorable releases of the year — if nothing else then for excellent timing.
III.XX.MMX is a surprisingly well recorded live show, and similar to the production quality of Flesh Cathedral. This makes it enjoyable, as Svartidauði shines in the bare template of raw black metal. The relative obscure nature of the band combined with the 50 minute tracks with no song information makes this release more like an art object than a commercial release. Moreover, the dark atmosphere makes the entire experience fitting for the general focus of the band. Svartidauði already has a solid history of releases but this once in a lifetime opportunity may be too good to ignore.