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solstafir endlesstwilightofcodependentlove
Artist: Sólstafir
Title: Endless Twilight Of Codependent Love
Genre: Metal / Post Rock
Release Date: 6th November 2020
Label: Season Of Mist


Album Review

In the past, if you hailed from Iceland, you’d probably roll your eyes and mutter impatiently as all around you people said “Ah! Iceland! BJÖRK!” Like the diminutive vocal powerhouse was in fact a demi-god, and the only way for all the rest of us to show our vast knowledge of the Icelandic people, their country, traditions, and especially music, was to drop her name into a conversation. And now, if you hail from Iceland, you get to be patronised by even more people, as the rest of us name-drop everyone from Alt-darlings KAELAN MIKLA to global superstars OF MONSTERS AND MEN. And of course, there’s SÓLSTAFIR, metal titans who do things their way, the Icelandic way, rough, rugged and independent. Right?

Creating their own brand of metal for over 25 years, it’s a fine line SÓLSTAFIR tread between inventive, intelligent Rock music, and self-parody. Take the album title here. Could anything be more SPINAL TAP than ‘Endless Twilight Of Codependent Love’? I desperately need this to be some knowing, in-joke and piss-take, rather than something an over-earnest 16-year-old might write on the back of their schoolbook while dreaming up names for the yet-to-be-formed Prog-Rock band that will go on to rule the world. But it’s probably not is it?

Anyway! To the music! Enough dancing around the peripherals. Never shy of stretching an idea, the band open with the ten-minute epic ‘Akkeri’, a song which one could politely say stretches somewhat the vocal limits of Aðalbjörn Tryggvason. There’s lots of texture changes, some nifty guitar-work, and even a bit of cowbell (Ah! Cowbell!) before it gallops off on a long fade into the sunset. Brooding, moody ‘Drysil’ follows, building up to sheets of guitar, and rolling drums, folding into a landscape of drama - you can imagine the video for this. Horizontal rain, and our heroes screaming into the elements, hair billowing as hair always billows in this kind of scenarios. It’s like the wild-west out there, but with shit weather. ‘Rokkur’ is a hugely interesting, strange and jittery beast, although it’s once again difficult to get away from the desire to give the vocalist a bit of help. What works at times as impassioned, can equally sound strangled and horribly strained.

It’s odd to hear the English language here, and on ‘Her Fall From Grace’ there’s plenty of tension and interplay which shows SÓLSTAFIR could sing in any language and they’d still retain their essential SÓLSTAFIRness (I’m allowed to make up words. It says so in the rulebook). Things get fast and furious on the screamy ‘Dionysus’ - a sound that definitely suits them - mellow and dreamy on ‘Til Moldar’, and almost pop on ‘Alda Syndanna’. Piano tinkles give a bluesy introduction to rock-waltz ‘Or’, and the album makes its curtain call with the sombre ‘Ulfur’, which gets itself more and more worked-up as things progress, time changes and loud/soft dynamics giving this a familiar but successfully angsty feel to the whole. By the end, it’s like a slab of black concrete, the kind of heavy that’s impressive but a bit redundant.

Hailing from Iceland does not automatically give bands a free-pass into the cool category anymore, and that’s a good thing. Equally good, is that SÓLSTAFIR have consistently not given a care in the world to such trivial concerns. They do what they do, and they do it their own way. There’s plenty here to admire, but perhaps just not enough to love. At least it’s not BJORK.


Tracklist

01. Akkeri
02. Drysil
03. Rokkur
04. Her Fall From Grace
05. Dionysus
06. Til Moldar
07. Alda Syndanna
08. Or
09. Ulfur


Line-up

Aðalbjörn Tryggvason - Guitar, Vocals
Svavar Austmann - Bass
Sæþór Maríus Sæþórsson - Guitar
Hallgrímur Jón Hallgrímsson - Drums, Backing Vocals


Website

https://solstafir.is / https://www.facebook.com/solstafirice


Cover Picture

solstafir endlesstwilightofcodependentlove


Rating

Music: 7
Sound: 7
Total: 7 / 10




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