Solstafir
Otta


5.0
classic

Review

by Chamberbelain USER (82 Reviews)
November 26th, 2015 | 11 replies


Release Date: 08/29/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hypnotic, Lethargic And Mesmeric

Some people say that a good album should take the listener on a ‘journey’. Sólstafir’s journey has led them from the dark roots of underground black metal band from Iceland to a blinding beacon of something much more complex, touching and personal. Their upward journey has led them to their 5th album, Ótta, and after hearing it you can no longer call them black metal. However neither can you take it away from them; in a way this juxtaposition is what makes Sólstafir one of the most unique bands around today.

Iceland is not a country known for metal however Sólstafir keep their heritage close to heart within Ótta. The depth the quartet go into this record in terms of their heritage is significant of the level of depth each song goes into on the album. Few would assume that this is a concept album is based upon an Old Icelandic measurement of time: ‘Eykt’, where each day has eight stages- all 8 songs on Ótta then represent a different time stage. As if that isn’t as deep enough, Aðalbjörn Tryggvason sings the album in their mother tongue.

Lágnætti (Midnight) awakens the album with a piano led chord and quiet vocals as if to not disturb the night. As the pace quickens the vocals become more pronounced in keeping with the gentle drops and rises in tempo to create an almost sub-conscious tone. Towards the climax of the song the piano becomes centralized around the shroud of ambience that almost serves as a riff. Before the echoed last note, a subtle guitar solo finds its way in to form a sublime yet abrupt ending to the song. Ótta (Dawn) progresses with a delicate rise in volume before introducing a simple riff from a banjo that immediately touches the heart. Atmosphere ripples though the brief interlude before blasting into the hypnotic riff once more. Nearing the end of the song, Sólstafir still manage to produce a sense of tragedy through the passion behind Tryggvason’s cries and straining strings. The nine and a half minutes genuinely seem to fly by.

Sólstafir incorporate a slow tone to express the gentle build ups of emotion to their draining music. Rismál (Dayrise) and Dagmál (Morning) build on that slow pace to allow the listener to wade through their own senses to discover the depth Sólstafir go into through the dynamic simplicity of their music. The approach is much like the subdued Katatonia, but of their own making where a certain sense of passion that no other band comes close to touching. The slow pace of the album thus far rises to a consistent rise and sink of harmonies during Miðdegi (Midday) before a stand out solo appears behind the curtain of instrumentation. The fuzz of guitar and dreary bass in Nón (midafternoon) leads to some purely atmospheric interludes that prepare you for the burst of grooves and exploding solos afterwards.

We’ve come through the ferocity of morning and day, now it’s time to relax. Any urgency is stripped away on the sorrowful, piano led Miðaftann (afternoon) and crescendos in Náttmál (Evening) which bring to album to a close with pulsating ambiance of looming anger to give way to a dramatic growth of intensity unlike anything on the album. This song is a masterpiece of progressiveness; much like the album itself.



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user ratings (144)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gard3n
November 26th 2015


439 Comments


Finally a review for this! I don't know if it's a 5 but easily a 4,5. Probably their best.

Have a pos.

Hawks
November 26th 2015


45642 Comments


Kold is the only album I've heard by these guys and it was sweet. Will jam this one either later tonight or tomorrow.

Digging: Blaze of Perdition - Near Death Revelations

AlphaBetaFoxface
November 27th 2015


89 Comments


Surprised no one had reviewed this. Solid record. Would have given it a 4.0-4.5, but Kauan came along and swept me off my feet. Definitely easier listening though. Pos'd

Evreaia
November 27th 2015


4580 Comments


"Iceland is not a country known for metal"

the past few years beg to differ.

DatsNotDaMetulz
November 27th 2015


2923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a shame the members of Solstafir are dicks who fired the drummer in secret and now just badmouth him all the time (apparently he had a drug problem, although he's now come out and said that he's never drunk or done anything before a show, unlike other members he refused to mention by name, and all he does is have a drink now and then). The infighting between the band and the drummer is really rather pathetic.

Wolfhorde
November 27th 2015


15040 Comments


who cares

Gard3n
November 27th 2015


439 Comments


"It's a shame the members of Solstafir are dicks who fired the drummer in secret and now just badmouth him all the time (apparently he had a drug problem, although he's now come out and said that he's never drunk or done anything before a show, unlike other members he refused to mention by name, and all he does is have a drink now and then). The infighting between the band and the drummer is really rather pathetic."

Have you ever been in a band? Or at least do you know how a band is to be managed? There are things you can bear and things you can't. It's their decision, concentrate on the music. Believe me, it's really difficult to be in a band.

DatsNotDaMetulz
November 28th 2015


2923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have been in a band and I have been involved in post-split disputes but it's pathetic when they keep airing their dirty laundry.

SacredSerenity
December 19th 2015


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Finally a review!

KingdomOfTyrant
January 19th 2016


510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

their best.

Maco097
June 18th 2016


899 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Excellent album



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