Rating:
8.0
Sólstafir - Köld
21 January 2009


01. 78 Days In The Desert
02. Köld
03. Pale Rider
04. She Destroys Again
05. Necrologue
06. World Void Of Souls
07. Love Is The Devil (And I Am In Love)
08. Goddess Of The Ages


It was not long ago that I discovered Sólstafir, who come from the cold plains of Iceland. When I first heard their name I thought they were a pure black/viking metal band, which, at least based on their latest two efforts, is terribly wrong. I decided to give them a listen eventually, and hell it wasn't a mistake at all. I just pity myself that I missed out on them for so long.

These guys, in my opinion, are doing something that can basically be described as experimental metal. That's not very clear? Well, there are certain post rock influences, ambient influences, and of course an extreme metal base in the core. No brutal or scream vocals used, it's a unique style, which reminded me of Primordial's Alan Nemtheanga at times, and, don't beat me for saying this but, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, especially in Necrologue. Guitars, drums and bass are used to compliment each other and create the haunting atmosphere that this record is all about. There are no super guitar work, or insanely fast drums, or anything similar, and there's no need for it. It's all about creating the atmosphere and pulling you into it, and they succeed at that damn well.

The album starts off with burning guitar riffs of "78 Days in the Desert", which is a long intro to the album. A nice instrumental that seems to have popped out of a "God Is an Astronaut" album, only with a heavier and more metal vibe to it. It could as well be used as a soundtrack. "Köld" and "Pale Rider" are pretty solid songs as well. The latter being heavier and faster, more chaotic song. Köld has a lot of rhythm changes, and includes nice vocals which, as I said, remind me of Alan a bit. "Necrologue" is another highlight on the album, which includes a really nice guitar solo. Also attention to the riff that starts at 2:35. With the vocal performance and the lyrics, this song makes you feel loneliness and desperation to the bones. "World Void of Souls" is an interesting piece of work, 11 minutes of experimenting. With only some spoken vocal lines in the beginning, it's a long, ambient type of song, which doesn't include any "real" notes. "Love is the Devil (and I am in Love)" is the shortest, most straightforward song on the album while the last song "Goddess of the Ages" is a great ending to a nice album, having a remarkable drum beat that goes on for most of the song, not getting you bored, on the contrary, hypnotizing and taking you to another world for a short while.

Production on the album is average, I think, it adds to the atmosphere though, so I think it's good enough for this album. Cover art is also beautiful. So it doesn't let you down on other aspects either.

Overall I think this is a solid album. If I could pick one word to describe all of this album, it would no doubt be: atmosphere. Yes, it's all about that. Fans of atmospheric, long songs, and experimental metal would enjoy this album in my opinion. These guys are not known so well, so give them a try and maybe you'll discover another "favorite album to put on at night", just like I did.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Sólstafir
Album: Köld


 


written by flamey | 27.04.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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GT - 03.05.2009 at 15:28  
Nice review and a really good album too. I enjoyed it quite a bit
flamey - 07.05.2009 at 22:38  
Written by GT on 03.05.2009 at 15:28

Nice review and a really good album too. I enjoyed it quite a bit


Thanks man, it's my first review ever! So I guess it's.. ok =) and the album is really good, more people need to be aware of this band... well, or else it's their loss!
GT - 09.05.2009 at 00:00  
Written by flamey on 07.05.2009 at 22:38

Written by GT on 03.05.2009 at 15:28

Nice review and a really good album too. I enjoyed it quite a bit


Thanks man, it's my first review ever! So I guess it's.. ok =) and the album is really good, more people need to be aware of this band... well, or else it's their loss!

No worries. Yes it's a shame that so few people know about this album, but as you say it's their loss. I can only thank Promonex for pointing me in it's direction.
Aebsi - 13.05.2009 at 01:55  
This review is absolutely spot on with their music, in my mind they never were that black at all, even though they themselves claim to have been viking/black. But great review
Elio - 16.05.2009 at 17:56  
One of my favourite albums so far of the year. Good review mate
Krankheit - 27.05.2009 at 16:33  
Listening to the album right now. Very good so far.
flamey - 30.05.2009 at 22:07  
Written by Aebsi on 13.05.2009 at 01:55

This review is absolutely spot on with their music, in my mind they never were that black at all, even though they themselves claim to have been viking/black. But great review


Thanks for the comment dude
flamey - 30.05.2009 at 22:11  
Written by Elio on 16.05.2009 at 17:56

One of my favourite albums so far of the year. Good review mate


Thanks man I can only agree with what you said about the album, very solid.
pdepmcp - 18.11.2009 at 02:10  
Nice review, but I don't agree with you.
This record is something like an easier and by far less interesting involution since their previous release. The main difference is that Kold is a bit more linear and more close to post-rock than the previous was.
You can find almost any good aspect of this record already present in Masterpiece Of Bitterness, but MOB offers a better production, more variety and more structured songs (and by far better vocals, but it's a matter of taste and I prefer the harsher vocals of MOB than the lamenting new style).
This could be a promising debut album deserving a 7 or maybe the 8 you gave, but it's not.

However why have you skipped She Destroys Again form your track by track briefing?
flamey - 19.11.2009 at 20:22  
Written by pdepmcp on 18.11.2009 at 02:10

Nice review, but I don't agree with you.
This record is something like an easier and by far less interesting involution since their previous release. The main difference is that Kold is a bit more linear and more close to post-rock than the previous was.
You can find almost any good aspect of this record already present in Masterpiece Of Bitterness, but MOB offers a better production, more variety and more structured songs (and by far better vocals, but it's a matter of taste and I prefer the harsher vocals of MOB than the lamenting new style).
This could be a promising debut album deserving a 7 or maybe the 8 you gave, but it's not.

However why have you skipped She Destroys Again form your track by track briefing?


Hey, well actually I hadn't listened to MoB prior to writing this review. But even after listening to it, I did not come to like it as much as Köld. This one just grew on me more, although I still need to give it MoB a few more spins cos I only listened to it a few times.

I dont know why I skipped that song really But doesn't matter, track by track reviews suck anyway, I learnt that later
Konrad - 19.11.2009 at 20:25  
I enjoyed this album thoroughly...glad I finally got around to listening to it. Good band.
!J.O.O.E.! - 15.01.2010 at 17:36  
I actually had the same thought when i first listened to Necrologue, it really made of think of Nirvana
Paradox0 - 14.02.2010 at 22:41  
Also was thinking of the Nirvana thing when I was listening to "Neocrolauge:. To be honest, I tend to not be too crazy about atmospheric metal albums, but the atmospheric songs are done adequately. Songs like 78 days, "Love is the Devil" and "Goddess of Ages" hold the album together and allow it to truly shine above it being a mere drudge. On a side note, I don't know why, but I REALLY liked the drumming on this album. It's so simple yet you energetic and unpredictable.
Maxx666 - 13.01.2011 at 08:59  
A thoroughly enjoyable album, got it as a birthday present and i loved it. Nice review btw

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