Home / Song Reviews / Eurovision 2019 / Iceland: Hatari – Hatrið mun sigra

Iceland: Hatari – Hatrið mun sigra

Iceland have gone and selected the anti-capitalist, BDSM-Techno/Punk band, Hatari, to represent the nation in Tel Aviv. No doubt they'll be cashing in on their anti-capitalist stance in the run-up to Eurovision. It's difficult to know how to view Hatari: will viewers take them seriously or will they be thinking "what the actual f*ck is this?" Either way, Hatari will be the talking point on Europe's sofas in May. The negative points are the obvious sexual/BDSM overtones. The Nordic and western European nations might be, for the most part, sexually liberal-minded, yet parts of eastern and southern Europe along with…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal


The Eurovision audience and juries dislike aggressive or provocative performances.

User Rating: 3.08 ( 43 votes)

Iceland have gone and selected the anti-capitalist, BDSM-Techno/Punk band, Hatari, to represent the nation in Tel Aviv. No doubt they’ll be cashing in on their anti-capitalist stance in the run-up to Eurovision.

It’s difficult to know how to view Hatari: will viewers take them seriously or will they be thinking “what the actual f*ck is this?” Either way, Hatari will be the talking point on Europe’s sofas in May.

The negative points are the obvious sexual/BDSM overtones. The Nordic and western European nations might be, for the most part, sexually liberal-minded, yet parts of eastern and southern Europe along with the Balkans can be quite orthodox in their views. Something flirtatious and playful is fine, but down right seedy and a bit grubby is a totally different attack on the senses.

The other conflict is between the highly infectious rhythm of the song, which has to be applauded, and the growled lyrics. I haven’t known anything this growly do well since 2006 and besides, Lordi had a touch of fun and novelty about them. Other growly examples come from Max Jason Mai and Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät – both entries finished last in their respective semi-finals. The only recent rock-y song to do well was maNga back in 2010 for Turkey – they finished 2nd overall. Hungary 2018 and Ukraine 2017 were also quite aggressive in tone and both finished in the bottom-5. Notice that the most pop-focussed song finished higher?

Before the Musical pedants explode with rage and submit a whole dissertation to the comments section… Hatrið mun sigra is nothing like those songs above. HOWEVER, they prove that the Eurovision audience and juries dislike aggressive or provocative performances. Eurovision is ultimately a family entertainment show and two guys strutting around in rubber BDSM gear isn’t what people typically tune in to watch at 8pm in the evening. The same goes for gimps and writhing black-eyed woman in chicken-wire cages.

To their credit, Hatari provide a fantastic 3-minutes of visual art, but it’s feels too polarising to do well outside of the typically hungry-for-anything-different fan community, even in a supposedly lower quality year. Even so, I concede that this will easily qualify from a largely uneventful semi-final 1 and will probably finish somewhere on the right-hand-side of the scoreboard.

Ending on the negative note, their on-camera personas can be rather nauseating and vote-depressing. There’s a rather conceited arrogance to them that just doesn’t appeal. Then there’s the reported anti-Israel sentiments and that they plan to protest against Israel on stage in Tel Aviv. Hopefully these naive, idealistic guys learn something during their visit in May and respect the host nation.

About Gavster

ESCtips Owner   I’m a qualified designer and dedicate a lot of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.


  1. One of the better and more interesting entries to be selected for this year’s Eurovision.

    But it feels dated in song style and stage presentation and like you, Gav, I can’t see juries or televote getting behind it in a big way.

    At best only a 50-50 shot at qualifying.

  2. I wonder would they even be let into the country with their views on Israel?

    Must admit I was completely baffled at the fan appeal for this after watching the semi final performance, but after tonight I sort of got it, I’m still completely appalled by it but I can sort of see why someone would like it. I pretty much agree with you’re view on its result , should sail through to the final, juries will kill this but I expect it will get enough point from televote alone to get a respectable enough finish.

  3. Dear oh dear… 🤔

  4. I find well meaning Europeans jumping both feet first into the subject of the complex dilemma of the Holy Land as misguided as the next neutral, but I dont want to get into that…they may or may not protest. Let them have at it, they’ll get roundly booed. (Also, BDSM is close to BDS, no)?

    The synth pop side of this isnt bad, but this is more industrial than electo. Seems a cardboard cut out example of ‘walks the national final, squeeks the Semi, botches the Final’.

  5. At first I didn’t know what to think of this entry. But let’s start with the song first. Melody-wise it’s not bad at all. Perhaps very good (I think). Just imagine someone singing this in an a-capella version with just a guitar. It also builds up relatively Eurovision-esque, with a blistering climax with dito key change.

    Then the overall live performance. Yes, this will raise the same WTF-moments in Europe that the ‘Klingons’ from Lordi did in 2006 and Conchita with her beard in 2014. Will it do as well as these two past winners? Not sure. Currently, I would say it’s not a winner.

    But, one also has to look at the current state of Europe to understand the message of these Icelandic performers from Hatari. There’s a lot of (political) anger and despair in Europe. From a failing Brexit in the UK to the rise of the Yellow Vests movement in France, from angry right-wing populists (Identitary Movement) to equally angry left-wing-populists (Antifa Movement), from the rise of autoritarian systems in Eastern-Europe to Donald Trump.

    In a way this Icelandic entry refers to all that sentiment. But I think most European families don’t even know all these deeper meanings about this entry and its lyrics. What they probably see is a lot of…….fun. How weird that may sound. For many younger kids it’ll be their first time they get confronted with leather SM wear. Probably they think it’s rather ‘cool’. And most (lower) middle-class mummies and daddies see the appreciation as well. Perhaps they see it as an anti-EU song. How wrong they will be, but does that matter? I don’t think so.

    This will easily qualify. It will probably not win. But I wouldn’t be all that surprised that this great song packed in a visual shocker of a performance, would give Iceland a place on the left hand side of the scoreboard. Perhaps even TOP 7.

    PS: I’d love to be dragged around on stage by that lead singer haha :-D.

      • Yeah I read it. I laughed out loud at the political points as if this song is some sort of comfort blanket. It’s a sort of liberal coping mechanism to wear or use this song as a projection of their failing beliefs.

        Comment edited as writer of article has got in touch to say they were not present.

        • Aren’t we all prone to a ‘sneering know-it-all-tone’ in the current social media heavy environment we’re living in Gav? With all due respect to your comments on Eurovision songs, which hit the nail on the head quite often (but not always), but reading your tweets perfectly infuses your political beliefs (which obviously are conservative/right-wing) with your Eurovision opinions. That’s your choice off course. Although if I would still be more active for Songfestivalwerk, I would probably start two separate Twitter accounts, one privat and one hobby/work related.

          Regarding politics, I am not here to point my finger at others, when I myself have been wrong on many occasions. Remember Spain 2017? What a stupid failure from my part. I do think however that that amount of self-criticism is lacking in today’s (social media) society. You can be wrong sometimes, I can be very wrong sometimes.

          What I see nowadays in politics scares me. Personally I think both the centre-left (traditional Labour-Social-Democrats) and centre-right (traditional Christian-Conservatives) factions of politics did also a lot of good to western society. Otherwise we wouldn’t have 75 years of unprecedented peace. However, I am the first to recognize that things in Europe currently are not going well (to say the least). But here I say it again, both the centre-left and centre-right did bad things to our society. Further enhanced by our Twitter-heavy type fingers.

          But I think it’s no good to only point to others and to revert from centre-left to ultra-left-wing-populism or from centre-left to ultra-right-wing-populism. As if the solutions are from those radical parts of politics.

          I hope I don’t sound sneering, self-centered or aggressive in any way hehe. Back to music then. About Hatari I also said that I don’t believe it’ll win Eurovision. That I agree with you (too polarising). But I don’t believe our Twitter remarks and subsequent criticism will be understood by most Eurovision viewers. I think juries and televoters will see it differently. It’s not 2006 anymore (the less chaotic, less social media heavy, more nonchalant previous decade). It’s 2019, a year with far more social unrest (Ooowh, I think we both agree on that). And every contest partially could be seen in the light of some of such developments. A mirror so to say. Having said that perhaps Hatari is less polarizing than some might think.

          That’s why I think Iceland won’t win, something we agree on. But still I think there’s enough to like about Iceland’s act (which still is an act) to let it propell into the TOP 10 of the Eurovision Final. A placing between 6th and 11th place is entirely possible. And who knows what else is possible if this year’s lineup stays this dire.

  6. Finland 2015 mixed with Slavko.

    Strongly unqualified for me.

  7. “The Eurovision audience and juries dislike aggressive or provocative performances.”

    I think the last part of the sentence is a well-fitting description of last year’s winner…

  8. Hi Gav.

    Enjoy your site but I have to say I think you are VERY far away on this one.
    This will have HUGE publicity going into the Semis.
    Unlike other shock songs – the actual song is a brilliant club/techno driving masterpiece – a great pop song. Non ESC fans I know love it.
    The staging is AMAZING and super on point – dazzling and captivating for both jury and home viewers.
    For me this is easily Top 10 jury (pos Top 5) and will be easily Top 3 public vote (regardless of who else is selected).
    This is totally nailed on Top 5. Goosebumps.
    They are not anti-Israeli – they see both sides – but they are big on the injustice of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and the injustices. This will get many on board of the political protestors.
    I know we have fun on here and great exchanges and it’s all respectful banter but how you feel barely 2 stars for public vote is massively out of touch for me.

    • Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It would be boring if we all agreed.
      I really like the performance, as I’ve indicated above, but the examples cited in the review concern me. I think it’ll be too polarising once we have a full lineup of songs and staging concepts in May. What’s more, I think the British-centric betting market is driving down the price automatically assuming this is another Lordi-type alternative winner. They did the same with Finland 2015.

      There might very well be some underground support, but then I seem to remember people making those same arguments for Hungary last year, you know, because rockers stay in to watch Eurovision. In the end, the Eurovision audience tends to vote for the same format year after year with very little deviation.

  9. Hi Gav. I think the Icelandic sing is a way way better song than the Fin and Hun examples you cite.
    As for Eurovision audiences voting for same format year in year out, I think looking at recent winners Jamala, Netta. Sobral, Conchita, mans etc these are very very different formats.
    I think in a likely sea of ballads, Ice is still a mainstream enough hard techno dance track and the notoriety of the stage show is actually backed up by being of the highest performance and savvy level.
    All in the fun of the show, love your site as I said and we’ll see with a smile which of us was nearer the mark come May 18 😉

  10. Guys, eurovision is a family friendly Saturday 8pm show…

    Parents, children, conservatives will not vote for this…

    There is a reason why the top 100 is usually full of pop songs…

    • If Eurovision is a family friendly show, please tell me how Lordi won?

      • I’ve covered that in the Iceland review. Lordi was on the novelty side of rock: there was a sense of fun. At no point did their performance feel threatening or off putting. It was also during the 100% televoting era.

        Hatari has quite an aggressive song combined with BDSM staging. This will have its fans, but I reckon its popularity will be greatly limited when exposed to the wider Eurovision grand final audience and juries.

  11. Icelandic results released: Hatari wins both JURY and Televote in Icelandic final. 7 of 10 juries placed them 1st.

  12. Is this what you’d call subdued death metal with bondage or some other genre? Could such a negative, depressing song been voted winner outside of depressing, high suicide Scandinavia? I don’t think so.

    I find it tuneful though and that guy’s devil voice makes me laugh. Recent prices have been crazy, a classic fan fav although it will have a cult following, especially in Scandinavia.

  13. I can remember it after the first listen. That’s half the battle. Qualifier. The rest is up to how they’re handled in Tel Aviv

  14. How not to get a good running order slot:

  15. As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life and it may well be argued that the Icelandic entry is spicing up a competition which has endless nice songs but nothing outstanding. Personally this does not float my boat but they have as much right to perform their brand in eurovision as any other. Nevertheless, they cannot be allowed to use the stage as a platform for protest, if indeed they are serious about their stance. Frankly I suspect a touch of the “Sylvia Nights” and most of this is self publicity rather than conviction. Of course in a democratic society off set they have a right to express an opinion. On set it is inappropriate and unfair to the other performers and the people of Israel. KAN is organising the competition under the auspices of the EBU, not the Israeli government. Many Israelis do not support the actions of their government and this is their party too and the millions of fans around the globe and no performer has the right to spoil it. RUV has to take responsibility in the first instance and rein them and the EBU to take steps to ensure that any “protest” is not an integral part of the performance.

  16. You’ll be in such disbelief if this will come close to winning. Maybe 2nd.

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