Leave it to the Icelandic post-apocalyptic cowboys, SÓLSTAFIR, to reward their fans with a godly follow up to their godly album, Svartir Sandir. This time around, the band only release a single disc’s worth of music but it’s more than adequate. Their unique style of dark/atmospheric metal rises to new levels here.
The one characteristic that stands out the most on Ótta is how powerfully the band utilizes quiet and gentle atmospheres. Additionally, there are song sections where they could easily crash in with a wall of heaviness but the band choose to pull back. This actually results in keeping the tension and mood while also keeping listeners on their toes. Most importantly, SÓLSTAFIR‘s soulfulness and honesty is right up there with ANATHEMA, IN THE WOODS…, and PRIMORDIAL.
The journey that is Ótta can best be summarized by how it begins and ends. “Lágnætti” starts things off with quiet pianos, Aðalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason‘s heartfelt vocals, and the beautiful string orchestra. Once the post-punk basslines and pounding drum beat comes in with the massive whale siren calls of the guitars, the intensity truly gets epic. Closer “Náttmál” is equally soulful and beautiful. The push and pull of the song is extremely compelling and it builds up to an epic descrescendo. It is the crashing of glacier-sized emotions. Awesome.
In a genre where being soulless and forgettable is the norm, SÓLSTAFIR are truly saviors. There’s a reason why there are one of the best bands on the planet. (Season of Mist)