We here at Revolver HQ are big fans of Kælan Mikla's chilly, primal post-punk, and we're not alone. Count among their champions the one and only Robert Smith, who handpicked the Icelandic trio to play the Cure's 40th anniversary show in 2018. It's as meaningful an endorsement as any trio of young goths could ever hope to win.
Kælan Mikla's latest album is Undir Köldum Norðurljósum, and in addition to the group's signature mix of ethereal native-tongue vocals, blood-curdling screams, propulsive bass and mechanized drums, the LP also features a stirring guest appearance from like-minded blackgaze outfit Alcest (on the song "Hvítir Sandar"). Today (October 14th), we've teamed with Kælan Mikla to premiere the album in full. (Undir Köldum Norðurljósum is due out tomorrow and available for pre-order here.) Stream it below.
The title of the album, which translates to "Under the Cold Northern Lights," is taken from the chorus of the song "Sólstöður": "Witches conjure spirit under the cold northern lights/Kælan Mikla dances under the cold northern lights." "This album is made up of many stories that all happen within the Kælan Mikla universe," the band elaborates. "The stories are all different fairytales from our own imagination, but what they have in common is that each of them could happen under the cold northern lights. The northern lights are something magical we see in the wintertime home in Iceland, and no matter how many times you witness them there's always this incredible otherworldly magic to them, it's so inspiring and it fits Kælan Mikla perfectly."
Of collaborating with Alcest, they add, "During our tour with Alcest we sparked a really good friendship with Neige and the rest of the band, as well. We realized that we share a lot of aesthetics and our styles match very well, even if the music isn't of the same genre. He brought up the idea of collaboration, which sounded really cool. In the demo process of 'Hvítir Sandar,' we felt there was always something missing for the song to be complete. We asked them if they would like to join us for this song and Neige came to Iceland and recorded guitars and vocals in the studio with us, while Winterhalter recorded the percussion in America. We are all really happy with the results and hopefully we'll have chances to collaborate again in the future."