“Religious experiences” in music are reserved for the most unique and sentimental experiences. However, that also applies to SOLSTAFIR‘s latest masterpiece, Svartir Sandar. Strong words they are but warranted.
Dreamlike, somber, melancholic, immeasurably deep, and soul bearing, Svartir Sandar carries a strong vibe much like THE CURE‘s Pornography and FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM‘s The Nephilim. And speaking of the latter, it’s readily apparent that SOLSTAFIR are heavily influenced by FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM.
Spanning two discs, Svartir Sandar is an amazing journey. Stylistically, the album’s sound can be loosely described as a unique blend of folk-tinged dark metal and classic gothic rock. Clean electric guitars/bass take the listener through peaks and valleys where more somber, quieter moments flow into more uptempo, heavier ones and vice versa. The action is always dynamic and continuously moving. Stagnation is nowhere to be found. Female background vocals and organs are used sparsely to accent the atmospheres.
Vocalist/guitarist Aðalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason is just awesome in his performance. His passionate cries are intoxicating and unforgettable. Even though all the songs are sung in Icelandic, one does not need to know the language to feel the sheer honesty and emotion being communicated.
When an album causes the hair on your arm to stand on end, you know there is something so powerfully unique about it, and that perfectly describes Svartir Sandar. This is truly an instant classic that no fan of dark music should miss. Absolutely mandatory. (Season of Mist)