Sólstafir - Svartir Sandar

Sólstafir - Svartir Sandar

 

(CD, Season Of Mist, 2011)

The evolution of a band is often a matter of controversy, especially for the ones that start their musical journey from the extreme spectrum of Heavy Metal. The peril of alienating their fanbase is imminent, but in many cases the risk is worth taking. SÓLSTAFIR is an Icelandic Metal band formed in 1995 playing Viking Metal. Through the 15 years of their existence, their sound has gone though many transformations, although they have released just three full length albums. Despite that, they gained high acclaim from critics and fans alike.

Their sound is impossible to categorize, labeled by the band as Epic Rock ‘n’ Roll, hence ideal for anyone who likes/dares to explore uncharted sonic territories. It is a unique and very strange blend of Metal with Viking origins, with Rock rhythms and Goth influences. The music is atmospheric, sometimes psychedelic, yet very powerful, and above all captivating. They reminded me of ANATHEMA and TIAMAT, bands with restive spirit, and similar history of radical musical transformations.

Their forth offering is the called “Svartir Sandar” that is translated as “black sands” as a reference to the unique volcanic landscape of Iceland. It comes as a double CD, containing 12 tracks, making this album even more challenging. The lyrics are written in their native language, hence indecipherable for the vast majority of fans. “Fjara” is a beautiful melancholic mid tempo track, featuring female vocals. It will be the first video clip for the album. “Þín Orð” displays the Goth influences of the band while being a dramatic up-tempo track. “Melrakkablús” is an astounding track, resembling an impossible collaboration between BATHORY, BLACK SABBATH and U2! The band reveals it’s Viking Metal past, with the “Svartir Sandar”, a track with a final part that is simply hair raising.

“Svartir Sandar” is an excellent album, but not an easy one to listen, as a genre defying one. You have to listen it for a number of times, in order to start appreciating it. But believe me, it is worth it.

9/10 


Links:

www.Solstafir.Net
www.MySpace.Com/Solstafir
www.FaceBook.Com/SolstafirIce


Tracklist:

CD 1 “Andvari”:
01. Ljós í Stormi
02. Fjara
03. Þín Orð
04. Sjúki Skugginn
05. Æra
06. Kukl

CD 2 “Gola”:
01. Melrakkablús
02. Draumfari
03. Stinningskaldi
04. Stormfari
05. Svartir Sandar
06. Djákninn


Lineup:

Aðalbjörn Tryggvason - Guitars, Vocals
Guðmundur Óli Pálmason - Drums
Svavar Austmann - Bass
Sæþór Maríus Sæþórsson - Guitars