Solstafir - "Svartir Sandar" (2011)


"Svartir Sandar"

Season of Mist


For those who don't know this band - Solstafir is hailing from Iceland. They are playing a psychedelic/progressive metal (although they started as a viking metal act), and "Svartir Sandar" is their 4th full lenght album.
It is also a bit different than the previous one, "Kold". The first thing that comes to ear is the production - it's much lighter. It can be still very sultry, but there are also moments when it become more spacious. Thanks to that the riffs are not as heavy as they used to be in the past. They lost some of their power, but from the other side they become more hypnotic now, which is also an interresting thing. The music is diverse - and it's very important, due to the fact that this album lasts for almost 80 minutes! That's really long, but fortunetely Solstafir knows how to rivet listener's attention. The music is this time stronger inspired by a classic rock (Led Zeppelin, for example) than their previous creativeness. From what I hear it concerns mostly the second CD. A bit strange, yet such tracks as "Stormfari" seems to confirm my words.
But the base is here still the same. Production - despite of mentioned differences - is still enough sultry and first of all psychedelic, with "cold sound" and many echeos of guitar. Solstafir's riffs are clearly inspired by post-rock, classic rock acts and proggresion. Luckily not that boring proggresion from the sign of Dream Theater with thousand of guitar solos masturbation, but from this more atmospherical bands. The music is really not very complicated, it bases mainly on frugal riffs, simple drum beats and some relishes hidden in the background. Technically it's not a masterpiece, but it's not a point here- the point is an atmosphere! And the guys know how to create it. What especially makes impression are vocals - Adalbjorn has such a characteristic, thrilling voice that your heart has to be made of stone if you are not moved after listening to such "Thin Ord", haha! The band very often goes into faster, more dynamic areas and I must say that was a good idea. If they would play constantly slow, minimalistic tracks like "Fjara" I would fell into a sleep after some time. And well, that's more or less everything I wanted to write.
If you would like to see pristine, cold landscapes of Iceland and you don't have enough money for a ticket you can always buy this album. It will bring you there, as it's just a sonic trip through the wildest parts of this island. Solstafir created something really great, something that will be appreciated by the people who loves a bit of frosty tunes in the music...

Rate: 8+/10

Here you can watch the amazing video created for the first single, "Fjara":

(Disc 1)
1. Ljos i Stormi
2. Fjara
3. Thin Ord
4. Sjuki Skuggin
5. Aera
6. Kukl

(Disc 2)
1. Melrakkalbus
2. Draumfari
3. Stinningskaldi
4. Stormfari
5. Svartir Sandar
6. Djakninn

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