Dependability is crucial to any band’s fanbase and 2017 did not disappoint. All of the bands that we’ve come to depend on for great music more or less delivered the goods. One band stood out to us all were the death metal gods from Yonkers, New York, IMMOLATION. They continue to stand as a pillar for metal with their unending well of creativity and longevity. Atonement blew us away with its complexity, ominous atmosphere, and inventive brutality.
Enjoy our lists of our favorite albums of 2017. And remember: Buy or die!
SÓLSTAFIR have revealed the first song of their forthcoming sixth full-length, Berdreyminn, which means a “dreamer of forthcoming events” and will be out in stores on May 26th via Season of Mist.
The track “Ísafold” is now online:
SÓLSTAFIR comments: “Our first premiere song ‘Ísafold‘ came very spontaneously to light. It felt like the spirit of THIN LIZZY paid us a visit that day. Adding a classic Phil Rudd beat to that seemed the only right thing to do. This is not the most typical SÓLSTAFIR track but in some odd way it could be taken to represent this album. For such a short song, it offers many different sonic landscapes. And although we are not re-inventing the wheel and you will find many references to ‘classics’ as tributes, I find it quite different from anything that we have done before. That is the way, I like it and to me ‘Ísafold‘ is already an all-time favourite among all our tracks.”
Iceland’s greatest export, SÓLSTAFIR, have done it again with another absolutely jawdropping, powerful video. This time around, “Miðaftann” from last year’s Ótta gets the music video treatment. Words simply can’t do the video justice.
The clip was directed by Harri Haataja and Vesa Ranta and shot with renowned actor Gudmundur Ingi Thorvaldsson, at the famous black sand beach which inspired the band’s album title Svartir Sandar close to Iceland’s southernmost village Vík í Mýrdal.
Frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason comments on the video: “The track is about wandering in darkness. Playing chess with Death, getting burned by salt, drowning in the ultimate wave of sin and returning back home by using moonlight as navigation.”
Directors Harri Haataja and Vesa Ranta further elaborate: “They told us a real-life story about a sailor, who lost his crew at sea and was stranded to shore as the only survivor-. He proceeded to find his way to town and en route he found a barrel filled with water. Yet the water was frozen, so he had to punch through the ice with his bare hands to fight dehydration. Eventually, after a long journey, he reached the town and survived.”
The APESHIT goons have raved about the post-apocalytic cowboys from Reykjavík, Iceland for a few years now. Their last two studio albums, Svartir Sandar (2011) and Ótta (2014), are epic pieces of atmospheric soul. If there was ever a band to rightfully take on the mantle of FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM while also leading the Icelandic metal scene, SÓLSTAFIR are the chosen ones.
We finally got in touch with vocalist/guitarist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason during their recent (mostly sold out) European tour to talk about their volcanic rise in the scene.
Unlike everyone else, we waited until 2014 was actually over to recount our favorite albums. It’s been a great year for extreme music with a healthy amount of excellent releases. We saw the return of legends in GODFLESH and AT THE GATES as well as welcome returns from long recording breaks in BEHEMOTH and MAYHEM. And who can deny the GHOST B.C.-like popularity explosion of Japan’s BABYMETAL? Crazy shit. Metal is certainly a diverse genre.
For 2014, the APESHIT goons did not have any unanimous or semi-unanimous album of the year (i.e. 2013’s CARCASS‘ Surgical Steel). But MAYHEM, BLOODBATH, GODFLESH, and TRYPTIKON were near consensus picks. Sorry, ENTOMBED A.D. didn’t make it here.
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)
The epic new video for SÓLSTAFIR‘s “Lágnætti” is now online. The breathtaking video was directed by the same directing team of Bowen Staines and Gunnar B. “Gussi” Guðbjörnsson, who directed the amazing “Fjara” video.
Icelandic heathens SÓLSTAFIR are back with a new album. The highly anticipated follow-up to 2011’s much praised Svartir Sandar is entitled Ótta and has been scheduled for an August 29th release (September 2nd in North America).
As the name suggests, Ótta will include eight songs, which titles will be unveiled later in June. Pre-orders will start on Season of Mist‘s e-shop on June 10th.
The best metal fest in the U.S., Maryland Deathfest, just wrapped up this weekend. This year’s edition featured another killer line-up from all around the world, including the reunited DARK ANGEL. Let’s check out some footage filmed by those of you who were there. Cheers.
Iceland’s best metal export SÓLSTAFIR have announced that they will finally be touring North America for the first time. The only downside is that it’s strictly an East Coast tour. JUNIUS will be the opening band, which makes for a very cool touring combo. The tour starts May 15, 2014 in Toronto and concludes at the glorious Maryland Deathfest on May 23, 2014.
In other news, the band recently wrapped up the recording sessions in Studio Sundlaugin for their upcoming album. Check out photos on their Facebook page. It should be a damn good album.