Metal Hammer (UK)


Bewitching synth-led post-punks inspired by the magic and majesty of Icelandic folklore


MIRRORING THE FROZEN, sacred landscapes of their home in Iceland, Kaelan Mikla are simultaneo­usly bewitching and brutal. The band’s name has similarly glacial origins, and comes from the Icelandic translatio­n of ‘The Lady Of The Cold’, a winter spirit who appears in Moomins.

“If you look into her eyes, you freeze to death,” explains synth player Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsd­óttir. “The character is like a children’s femme fatale, and we relate to that a lot.”

Growing up in an isolated country, Kaelan Mikla often had only nature and the fairytales and folklore of their homeland to turn to for inspiratio­n, singing stories in their native tongue about wishing stones and cunning elves, among other magical entities.

“We just played in the countrysid­e, heard stories and sang songs,” Sólveig says. “I always feel like the elves are a metaphor for nature because they’re very dangerous, but very beautiful.”

Since forming in 2013, the trio – completed by bassist Margrét Rósa Dóru Harrýsdótt­ir and vocalist Laufey

Soffía – have taken their sonic spells around the globe. Favourites of The Cure’s Robert Smith, Kaelan Mikla favour a fervent gothic sound, driven by atmospheri­c synth, haunting melodies and pensive lyrics lifted from old poetry notebooks, and the bleakness of black metal. In turn, Kaelan Mikla were invited to support The Cure at their 40th anniversar­y show, and were handpicked by Smith to play at Meltdown festival in 2018. They’ve also played alongside bands as diverse as Alcest, Placebo, Pixies and Deftones. From January, they’ll be touring Europe and the UK as special guests to goth icon Ville Valo.

“We’re definitely a live band”, says Sólveig. “We put so much effort into our performanc­e, I’m very proud of that aspect. We emphasise the visual arts and spend about an hour backstage putting on make-up and dresses that are always well thought out. We’re like three witches screaming in your face.”


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