Solstafir
Endless Twilight of Codependent Love


4.4
superb

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
November 6th, 2020 | 82 replies


Release Date: 11/06/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Forging a path to greatness.

Bands like Sólstafir are few and far between these days. In an environment where the status quo is conditioned into giving people a quick dopamine release while they’re cleaning the house or commuting to work on a bus or train; in a world where pop artists release bewilderingly long albums filled with worthless filler, solely to attain optimum revenue from streams rather than releasing projects with a meaningful vision; or artists putting more effort into one or two digestible three-minute tracks and their music videos than focusing on entire projects. Without trying to sound pretentious, cynical or hyperbolic here, the impetus of these trends has almost certainly brought the “album experience” onto its knees – the urgency of a concept that simply asks you to stop for a moment and breath in its beautiful world. A world which was carefully crafted by people pouring their hearts and souls into it for the sake of the art itself and not for material gain. Indeed, these Icelandic visionaries are in that minority; a demographic that wishes for you to embody their works, not to callously consume them impassively on a soulless playlist while you’re focusing on other things.

With such a philosophy at hand, you can bet your ass when Sólstafir makes an album it isn’t going to be a bogging microwave meal that’s ready in six minutes and gorged on indifferently in three. To this day, I frequently listen to Berdreyminn and greatly appreciate its vast density and complex interwovenness. Hell, my initial opinion of Berdreyminn at the time wasn’t shy of adulation, but it has since grown to be my favourite album from them – its artwork encapsulates the swampy sonic tranquillity being omitted from within, and to me, Berdreyminn openly rewards repeated visits. It is, in the broadest sense, an experience: the gift that keeps on giving. And so, three years removed from that album and Endless Twilight of Codependent Love evolves from its last milestone with unbridled gusto. It is an intricately composed, labyrinthian peregrination: a lush, poignant tale with palpable substance and emotion attached to it. The production is dynamic, seamlessly writhing through pastures of the past with a heightened ableness that capitalises on ideas that didn’t necessarily flourish the first time around, but certainly land here. In a lot of ways, Endless Twilight… is acutely aware of the band’s past, and throws in lashings of black metal into the disparately pieced together epic “Akkeri”, or the icy, fussed-out tremolo assault that opens up “Dionysus”. The album maturely integrates old ideas with the more apparent movie-soundtrack direction they’ve been taking in recent years, and it only serves to elevate the compositions here.

One of the fundamental selling points to a modern Sólstafir, post-rock opus is the aesthetic. These guys are pioneers in that regard and every album feels like a completely different tale. Where Ótta felt like an ice-chilled walk down an isolated beach, and Berdreyminn an uninhabited adventure through damp swamps and forests, Endless Twilight… feels like a forsaken, celestial voyage into the void. Tracks have long stretches filled with harmonised guitar solos and acquiescent synthetic swells that form the ethereal paths you’ll float down. The melancholy is dialled to the max when compared to previous albums as well, and for good reason. Just when you think Sólstafir can’t get any more ambitious, they make a concerted effort to pull no punches in the instrumental department. Aðalbjörn ‘Addi’ Tryggvason’s unforgivingly agonising moans partner up with some really lavish instrumentation this time around, and the results are spellbinding. The ballads and symphonic epics in particular really benefit the most from this. From “Rökkur”’s grieving symphony and its chiming electronics, to the soulful jazz ballad “Ör” and its funky rhythm, chattering guitar effects and vibrant piano and banjo noodling. The strengths of Endless Twilight… come into full fruition when the album pulls out the ballad-centric numbers, but it isn’t shy to pull out hard-hitting punk riffs and galloping grooves with goth-tinged synths at intermittent moments of a track either.

Overall, the balance of style and mood is incredibly well handled. In truth though, I have to admit that out of the aforementioned albums – which I consider to be a trilogy at this point, considering the core ideas of mood-making are symbiotically connected – I do feel like this is the weaker one in tone and doesn’t quite hit home as hard as the previous two. That said, however, I overruled Berdreyminn for Ótta at the time and look where we are now. Ultimately, the take away from this review is perseverance; like their other albums, this is a long album (just a couple of minutes over an hour in length, if you exclude the bonus tracks) and it isn’t one you can just chop up and listen to in segments. This is a sonic banquet – a feast that is meant to be savoured for a long time to come. There’s a few stilted transitions dotted throughout the album – when it comes to moving in or out of the serene sections of a song, mostly – and the overall aesthetic, while very well forged, doesn’t feel as tangible or as exciting to listen to as Berdreyminn’s (as of this review, that is). In a year or so, who knows? What I can say is this: based on its own merits, this is one hell of an album and an easy contender for best post-rock album of 2020.

Sólstafir have been carving out a formidable reputation for themselves this past decade, and the quality of their albums just seems to have plateaued at absolute greatness. Sólstafir continues to be torchbearers of the “album experience”, from the calculated artwork which sets the mood, right down to the magnificent music itself. Like a lot of the epic-journey albums before it (Yes’ Closer to the Edge, or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, for example), Endless Twilight… requires time set aside solely to listen to it. If you can adhere to that, Endless Twilight… will guarantee you safe passage into a gorgeous, living, breathing world that will take you away from the abhorrent mess of 2020. And that's a fair deal in my eyes.

FORMAT//EDITIONS:
DIGITAL////VINYL(VARIOUS)//CD//CD BOX SET//COLLECTOR’S BOX SET

UNBOXING VIDEO:
N/A

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES:
N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE:
https://solstafir.bandcamp.com/album/endless-twilight-of-codependent-love




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user ratings (80)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
dedex
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2020


5876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Cool rev Simon, excited to hear this one

Digging: Big Black - Atomizer

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2020


22315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've been very much waiting for this one. Glad to read it's good!

Digging: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - K.G.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2020


16707 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

thanx guys.



yeah, this slaps. initially i wasn't feeling the vibes, but once you sink into it it's amazing

Digging: Solstafir - Endless Twilight of Codependent Love

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2020


15313 Comments


Looks like I'll have to check this out. Nice work, as usual, Dr.

Digging: Sodom - Genesis XIX

teamster
November 6th 2020


5242 Comments


Band has really never clicked for me. I prefer Kontinuum for my Icelandic metal fill. Excellent review and thanks...

Rowhaus
November 6th 2020


3883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That artwork is fantastic. I've never listened to these guys but looks like I'm gonna have to m/

Digging: The Axis of Perdition - Deleted Scenes From Transition Hospital

DarkNoctus
November 6th 2020


11326 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

man i do not get this at all

Digging: Shores of Null - Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)

WatchItExplode
November 6th 2020


8348 Comments


I liked it 🤷‍♂️

Digging: Slothrust - The Pact

DarkNoctus
November 6th 2020


11326 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

this vocals grate me and the the songs rely way too heavily on the most simplistic of rhythm riffs, nothing else really happens

Rowhaus
November 6th 2020


3883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not really into the vocals either but I dig everything else

teamster
November 6th 2020


5242 Comments


Interesting DarkNoctus - thought this band would be your shit.

DarkNoctus
November 6th 2020


11326 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

it was up until kold - it's a lot more interesting sonically and the vocals seemed to fit what the music was doing more. everything was more in sync and seemed far more emotionally charged.



now the vocals take a really dramatic, whiny tone and never seem to quite suit what the instrumentation is doing. frankly as well, what the instrumentation is doing is just bland - it relies on really basic rhythm riffs to carry songs and it isn't enough. kold was sonically intense and had some fantastic melodies. this has none of that. i don't get it i guess.



svartir sandar onwards they started stretching out their ideas mega thin, they still are and each album they've released has just been successively worse. this'll be the last solstafir album i listen to, they've completely lost me.

nightbringer
November 6th 2020


1578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the vox on this are... a bit much, but I also kinda like how dramatic they are

SacredSerenity
November 7th 2020


743 Comments


Nananaaa nananaaaa nananaaaa nananaaa nananaaaa. The horrible lyrics on one of the singles already killed any expectations I once might have had.

Ecnalzen
November 7th 2020


9726 Comments


This is pretty interesting so far

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2020


22315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Opener is so fucking good

Ecnalzen
November 7th 2020


9726 Comments


Normally I am kinda iffy on hearing vocals in a language I don't understand, but this sounds pretty cool. Icelandic sounds like a pretty neat language and I like the accent

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2020


22315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is really good, old Crippled Black Phoenix vibes and something else

Beardog
November 7th 2020


3873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hyyype

Digging: Demon Hunter - True Defiance

botb
November 7th 2020


14148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their black metal influenced stuff is sooooo good



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