Album Review: Sólstafir – Endless Twilight Of Codependent Love
Now on their seventh album, Sólstafir’s sound has become recognisable even before the Icelandic vocals kick in. With expansive guitars that elevate to rich emotional heights while retaining a rawness from their black metal days, Sólstafir’s cinematic post-metal captures the essence of the land and skies of their homeland – from majestic beauty to harsh extremes. In a feat that few bands achieve these days, they’ve even got their own look – think Motörhead and Fields Of The Nephilim combining their wardrobes and cast in a Spaghetti Western.
The success of Sólstafir’s signature icy swoops might have some wondering if they’re tied to a formula that clearly works. But they’ve never been afraid to experiment – one of their most popular songs, 2014’s Ótta, is led by a banjo riff, after all – and new album Endless Twilight Of Codependent Love sees them dismissing traditional song structures and broadening their sonic scope further than ever before. As frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason says, “I just feel privileged being able to mix all my favourite genres and get away with it.”
Sólstafir don’t just ‘get away with it’, they master it, as is proven with 10-minute opener Akkeri – a brave length for an opening track – where stirring guitars intersperse with black metal interludes and atmospheric passages before a reviving rock’n’roll finale – with added cowbell. The harsh heaviness of Dionysus harks back to their black metal days, and the biggest curveball this time isn’t a banjo, but the lounge jazz vibes of penultimate track Or. Sólstafir’s skill at encapsulating emotion is spellbinding as always, adding mystery to the magic for those unable to speak their native tongue (only one song, Her Fall From Grace, is not in Icelandic). Aðalbjörn’s mixture of spoken word and song on the glimmering Rökkur yearns with a pained anguish, while Til Moldar glides with gorgeous melancholy. The way Sólstafir conjure up such enchanted atmospheres has us wondering why they haven’t been snapped up for soundtrack work yet. But as the dynamic guitar riffs peppered throughout demonstrate, particularly in the driving soars of Alda Syndanna, Sólstafir are still a rock’n’roll band at heart.
For Fans Of: Primordial, Anathema, Fields Of The Nephilim
Endless Twilight Of Codependent Love is released on November 6 via Season Of Mist
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