Hailing from the great island of Iceland, Solstafir are a band I first discovered in the live arena a number of years ago now. On that day they produced a show like none I had seen previously, they entranced me with their music, mystical rhythms, a magical light show and a sound that lets your mind wander. The thinking man’s heavy metal sound. Since that day I've seen them live a number of time, and each time has been a wonderful experience. They may not get much coverage in the main stream music press but that does not take away from how good they are and I find myself regularly recommending them to friend..."dude you've gotta check Solstafir out, stunning live show".
This month sees the release of their sixth studio album Berdreyminn which I have to say I am more than a little excited about. Their previous release, Otta, was not only met with pretty much universal acclaim, but was followed up with a string of live performances that rocketed their stature and brought them to the attention of people like my good self.
Berdreyminn starts where Otta left off, heavily influenced by the culture and surroundings of the bands homeland, the volcanic landscape and the glacier’s. The song writing is unique in painting all of this into the listeners mind as I listen I drift off to the bands homeland, with the scenes depicted by the stunning song writing.
Opening with Silfur-Refur an atmospheric mood is set, folk undertones mixed with melodic modern post-rock gentle ease you into the imagery they intend to expand on. Gentle guitars, minimalistic piano and a soft slow drum track let you drift through the clearing fog onto this clearing mirage of an album. Nearly two minutes in the pace picks up a notch or two as the story gets to be told in full.
Isafold offers a different view, undertones of eighties electronic meld with a progressive rock sound to provide a completely different view, less atmospheric but far more accessible than the rest of the album. Hula on the other hand returns us to the atmospheric view, a dark haunting introduction to a slow paced, softly spoken number, heaving on keyboards and driven by Austmann’s bass line.
Naros and Hvit Saeng return to the style of the opening of the album, beautifully composed, with Tryggvason’s vocals defining the sound, driven and delivered to perfection as the pace of the songs pick up and return back to that slower picture painting ambient delight.
Dýrafjörður, stands out with its piano and string introduction leading to what can only be described as a Pink Floyd-esc guitar tone which duals with soft vocal interludes as the track progressive. Deeply moving and delivering an impact you just would not expect.
The album delivers perfectly for those already established Solstafir fans. A progression from the previous release, Otta, which can only see the band take another step into a more public eye. Yet also a great starting point for anyone new to the group and their music. I wholeheartedly recommend this album for you all, it will be hard to be beaten amongst all music releases this year.