Iceland is a rather small rocky and icy country on the northern edge of Europe, surrounded by rough seas. Besides a lot of volcanoes the island has spawned some cutting edge musicians and bands, like Björk, Sigur Rós and The Sugarcubes. When it comes to cutting edge hybrids of metal and postcore, Sólstafir is the band to look out for. After releasing a string of demo’s and EP’s the band released their first full length album under the guise of Masterpiece Of Pain (2005), which got raving reviews. Sólstafir’s current album, entitled Köld, was released in 2009. Let’s take a closer look.
Köld starts with an eight minute instrumental track, called 78 Days In The Desert. It shares the bleakness and cold atmosphere of black metal, but it shares certain characteristics of post rock and stoner rock as well. In fact, it’s quite catchy and relatively accessible. The title track follows the same pattern, albeit with vocals by Aðalbjörn Tryggvason (guitars/vocals). His singing reminds me lot of Alan Nemtheanga of Primordial fame.
Pale Rider is another hybrid of black metal and postcore. The psychedelic effects remind me somewhat of the later day Enslaved. She Destroys Again has the same build-up with a greater emphasis on stoner rock. It’s almost like Kyuss on crack. Necrologue has some slight Neurosis and Isis influences. World Void Of Souls is basically an eleven minute soundscape full of psychedelic effects and spoken word parts. Goddess Of The Ages is another long track, very much in line with 78 Days In The Desert. It’s in these long tracks that Sólstafir really shine.
Köld has a massive production, but it never smothers the song material. The raw edge gives the album some additional punch and enhances the black metal feel.
The music on Köld draws from many musical sources, such as black metal, postcore and stoner rock/metal. It’s the way in which the different influences are combined and conducted that makes this album a truly unique affair. Classic stuff!
Written by Raymond Westland