(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Iceland’s Sólfstafir, which is due for release on November 6 via Season of Mist.)
Once upon a time, in the distant town of Reykjavik, a group of Black Metal loving, cowboy hat wearing, Post-Rock playing urban vikings decided to form a band.
Calling themselves Sólfstafir and drawing from a broad spectrum of influences – ranging from Nirvana, Neurosis and U2 to Ulver, Enslaved, and Explosions in the Sky – the group soon began to make waves, both at home and abroad, but it wasn’t until the release of 2009’s sublime, spine-tingling Köld, which expanded the band’s sound into even grungier, proggier, and more atmospheric territory, that they truly came into their own.
Two years later they followed this up with what is widely considered to be their magnum opus (and one of the few modern double-albums where every song is is a winner), Svartir Sandar, cementing their status as one of the most unique, dynamic, and creative Rock/Metal bands on the planet.
But then… something changed. Slowly but surely they began to soften their edges and smooth out many of the rougher, more interesting textures which had defined their sound. And although the more sombre vibe of 2014’s Ótta still made for an emotive and engaging listening experience for the most part, by the time 2017’s Berdreyminn rolled around things had become, barring a few stand-out moments, pretty bland overall, even as the group’s fame and fortune continued to rise.
The thing is, it seems like even the band themselves must have been feeling like they’d lost their way a little, as the press materials and interviews for their new album explicitly refer to a desire to return to the style and spirit of their early days… which brings us to Endless Twilight of Codependent Love.