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.
The reissue of Icelandic rock heathens SÓLSTAFIR’s debut full-length, Í Blóði Og Anda (In Blood and Spirit), is now out everywhere. The whole album and its bonus disc, as well as the band’s magnum opus ‘Svartir Sandar’, are streaming at Bandcamp.
Originally released in 2002, Í Blóði Og Anda is SÓLSTAFIR‘s long-lost debut album. A far cry from the refined and expressive post-rock of 2011′s Svartir Sandar, Í Blóði Og Anda is a mix of black metal and crust. The album went out-of-print almost immediately upon its release, and has been out of circulation ever since. The album is now remastered, repackaged, and includes a bonus second disc full of previously unreleased material.
Iceland’s finest, SÒLSTAFIR, will have their debut album, Í Blóði Og Anda (meaning “In Blood and Spirit”), will be reissued with a bonus disc full of previously unreleased material. The reissue hits on November 8th in Europe and November 12th in North America. More details soon.