Review Summary: A behemoth of an album, Primordial and Neurosis combine to move a mountain.
It starts off slowly at first, a slow, droning melody distorted while something bigger suggestively lurks underneath. A minute in and it all begins to kick off; guitars play simple melodies over pounding drums and solid, rhythmic bass lines. It progressively gets bigger and bigger, until it all slows to a halt. 78 Days in the Desert is the opening track, an instrumental colossus that only begins to hint at what is to come.
Over the next hour of the album Solstafir just pound away at the senses with a completely focused and consistent drive. Combining the best of Primordial-style clean vocals and aggressive guitars with ambient, Post Metal build ups, Kold is an album that is as unique as it is accessible, as dense as it is catchy, and a startlingly memorable album. The execution and production is huge. Songs go for an average of around eight minutes, sometimes building up to huge climaxes, other times constantly changing and developing around small sections of sound. This is perfectly shown in the first three tracks, with 78 Days and Pale Rider showing off the best of the bands almost post-rock-esq song construction and style, while title track Kold builds upon tempo changes and ambient slowdowns before finishing with an amazing climax.
Despite this, the sound and atmosphere of the album is consistently solid. While some songs do certainly differ from the majority (Love is the Devil and Necrologue, for example) they still bear the trademarks of the Solstafir sound. Some songs are harsher than other songs, while some take longer to develop, but it is this variety that gives the album such a lasting appeal, and the band are a better unit because of that, not despite it. This variety also means that it will appeal to people with different musical tastes, because Solstafir pull off every aspect of their sound to perfection. The ambient build ups are magical, the riffs are stunning, the vocals are off the scale good and the length is never overbearing. Were it not for a few moments in the middle where it is easy to zone out slightly, the album would be pretty much perfect – a completely fabulous mix of elements that simply play off each other marvellously.
And that in the end is what this album is all about. The voice, the guitars, the structure of the songs, all of these things come together to make an album that is more than the sum of its (already impressive) parts. Some albums bear their strengths on one key feature, Solstafir don’t need to, pretty much everything clicks together here, and the result is colossal.