Ottoman – Heretic

I got a chance to visit Iceland last October. It is magical. Seriously.

TL;DR Can’t read Icelandic, ended up paying to be at the wrong show in the wrong club, and made the local record store owner think I’m a hipster music genius

I’m a big nerd and was super excited to listen to local rock radio while driving around Iceland in my rental car. X-ið 977 is a fantastic radio station and I was constantly using Shazam to discover new (and new to me) music. One of the bands playing in heavy rotation was Ottoman. And it was an absolute jam.

Well, during a walkabout in Reykjavík I noticed a poster for Ottoman’s album release show…..and it happened to be that very night. No-brainer, right??

I use Google maps to find the club, pay for tickets at the door, order a beer……and the show is kind of weird. It’s strange ethereal noise. It is like an odd art project. But, it’s Iceland… maybe it’s just the opener. After a while, I slowly start to realize that I’m in the wrong bar. I just paid $60 for me and my girlfriend to see part of the Extreme Chill Festival……experimental music and sonic arts. This is not my thing at all.

Now, I’m embarrassed because this realization hits me just as the owner of the local record store recognizes me from earlier in the day and he comes over to talk. Its obviously that he thinks I’m some sort extreme musical aficionado. I smile and agree “this is awesome” and he moves on.

Fuck it. I decide to walk out and we literally go into the next door on the street. I pay $30 to the lady and we finally get to experience blazing hot heavy Icelandic party rock at its finest.

Heretic is driving hard rock. It is an album full of fun danceable rock riffs that sounds familiar and unique at the same time.

The majority of this record is that timeless hard rock sound similar to AC/DC in its huge stadium feel, but the sound on Heretic is down-tuned just a bit. This record skirts the edges of doom metal while maintaining the lighthearted playfulness of arena anthems.

The vocal work is akin to Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, and Axl Rose…..with slight touches of Ozzy.

At times, Heretic slows down with 60s psychedelic flares. There are dreamy surfy guitars……but they’re doomy. It’s like Sleep mixed with The Turtles.

Side note: I’d buy the entire discography from Sleepy Turtles.

This record deserves far more recognition outside of Iceland. It is packed with catchy, singable rock hits that need to be heard far and wide.

Thanks to Gaukurinn Records for shipping me a copy.

My favorite track: Siddhartha

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