SÓLSTAFIR
Black Metal / Metal Related / Atmospheric Sludge Metal / Progressive Metal • Iceland

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Sólstafir is an Icelandic metal band which formed in 1995 and currently has three full length releases. Their third effort, Köld, was released on the 21st of January 2009. The band’s unique style has made it hard to categorize Sólstafir into a specific genre or group of genres.

Sólstafir were formed by 3 friends, Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, Halldór Einarsson and Guðmundur Óli Pálmason in January 1995.

Later that year the band recorded it’s first demo tape “Í Norðri” and at the end of the year the band hit the studio again to record what was to become the second demo “Til Valhallar”.

“Til Valhallar” was never released as a demo though and 4 of the 6 songs were released as a MCD by View Beyond Records. It was later re-released in 2002 with all the 6 songs.

In 1999 Sólstafir entered the studio to record it’s debut full length album. By that time Halldór had
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SVARTIR SANDARSVARTIR SANDAR
Season Of Mist 2012
Audio CD$11.61
$11.60 (used)
Berdreyminn (Deluxe)Berdreyminn (Deluxe)
Extra tracks
Season of Mist 2017
Audio CD$15.81
$9.43 (used)
Berdreyminn (Ltd. Ed. Opaque Blue Do Uble 12Berdreyminn (Ltd. Ed. Opaque Blue Do Uble 12" Vinyl In Deluxe Gatefold)
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2017
Vinyl$30.00
ÓttaÓtta
Season of Mist 2014
Audio CD$10.24
$7.15 (used)
BerdreyminnBerdreyminn
Season of Mist 2017
Audio CD$9.97
$3.30 (used)
KoldKold
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2009
Audio CD$4.99
$8.03 (used)
Masterpiece Of BitternessMasterpiece Of Bitterness
Spinefarm 2017
Audio CD$9.04
$8.97 (used)
Í Blóði og Anda (In Blood and Spirit - 2002)Í Blóði og Anda (In Blood and Spirit - 2002)
Season of Mist 2013
Vinyl$22.44
$27.00 (used)
Masterpiece of Bitterness - SolstafirMasterpiece of Bitterness - Solstafir
Import
Spikefarm 2006
Audio CD$26.97 (used)
Svartir Sandar (Ltd. Ed. 2LP on Blood Red & Milky Clear vinyl mix)Svartir Sandar (Ltd. Ed. 2LP on Blood Red & Milky Clear vinyl mix)
Limited Edition
Season of Mist 2017
Vinyl$24.98
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SOLSTAFIR Otta VQCD-10394 NEW JAPAN 2014 CD SOLSTAFIR Otta VQCD-10394 NEW JAPAN 2014 CD USD $59.58 Buy It Now 5h
Svartir Sandar [Digipak] * by Solstafir (CD, Oct-2011, 2 Discs, Season of Mist) Svartir Sandar [Digipak] * by Solstafir (CD, Oct-2011, 2 Discs, Season of Mist) USD $10.47 Buy It Now 8h
Solstafir - Berdreyminn [New Vinyl LP] UK - Import Solstafir - Berdreyminn [New Vinyl LP] UK - Import USD $28.43 Buy It Now 14h
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Agalloch Serpent & The Sphere 2LP RED 1st pressing Ulver, Alcest, Solstafir Agalloch Serpent & The Sphere 2LP RED 1st pressing Ulver, Alcest, Solstafir USD $35.00 Buy It Now 3 days
AGALLOCH - Alpha Serpentis 7 AGALLOCH - Alpha Serpentis 7" ART ED Ulver, Solstafir, C93, Musk Ox, Alcest USD $35.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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AGALLOCH - Alpha Serpentis 7 AGALLOCH - Alpha Serpentis 7" Ulver, Solstafir, Current 93, Musk Ox, Alcest USD $7.00 (2 bids)
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SÓLSTAFIR Discography

SÓLSTAFIR albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
Í Blóði og Anda
Black Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 4.07 | 9 ratings
Masterpiece of Bitterness
Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 5 ratings
Köld
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.24 | 3 ratings
Svartir Sandar
Atmospheric Sludge Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.32 | 6 ratings
Ótta
Metal Related 2014
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Berdreyminn
Metal Related 2017

SÓLSTAFIR EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Til Valhallar
Black Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Death
Black Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tilberi
Metal Related 2016

SÓLSTAFIR live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Afmæli í helvíti
Black Metal 2001

SÓLSTAFIR demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Í Norðri
Black Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Promo Tape September 1997
Black Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Death
Black Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Promo 2004
Black Metal 2004

SÓLSTAFIR re-issues & compilations

SÓLSTAFIR singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fjara
Black Metal 2011

SÓLSTAFIR movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SÓLSTAFIR Reviews

SÓLSTAFIR Ótta

Album · 2014 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
It was very sad news for me to read the other night that drummer Gudmundur Oli Pamason (spelled here without the Icelandic letters) had been kicked out of the band in January. He has written a long explanation of the recent events occurring between him and his former band mates on Wordpress. I got to know of Solstafir several years ago through Gudmundur’s mother who had become a friend of mine via a blog site and we maintain our friendship on Facebook. Gummi (as he is also known) is also a very talented photographer and artist and responsible for much of Solstafir’s artwork. He started the band 20 years ago with Addi (vocalist Adalbjorn Tryggvason) and poured his life’s energy into keeping the band going. I have exchanged some personal comments with him on Flickr about his photographs and he has left a few comments on mine. But more so, his mother and I continue to be good friends over the Internet, and so when I saw the link to the Wordpress site she posted, I was deeply saddened to read what it said.

Though I had known about Solstafir for a few years, I hesitated to buy an album. I was certain that extreme metal, sludge, post metal, and any kind of screamo / aggro metal was not for me. But thanks to my interest in progressive rock and metal, I came around to purchasing albums by Mastadon, Anathema, and Baroness and liked many of the songs. Then Gummi’s mom posted on Facebook about the band’s latest album, Otta, and the concept so intrigued me that I thought it was time to buy an album. For reasons that would make this preamble even longer were I too explain, my order was delayed and I only finally got the CD in the mail two weeks ago.

On my first listen, I was surprised at how slow and sedate some of the music was. There were many atmospheric moments with strings and piano or simple repeated notes or chords or guitar effects that made this music easy on the ears. I read some reviews of the album and listened again. Yes, there was definitely an atmosphere here, something like the bare B&W misty landscape scene in the CD booklet. There was cold, and loneliness, and there was solitude and isolation. Yet there was warmth and at times energy and power.

I listened again and again, finding each time that I liked the album more and more. Addi’s vocals are full of emotion and expression and not the screamo type or death growls that I thought I might hear. He can raise his voice to impassioned shouting when the music calls for it, but he can also squeeze emotion from his voice in tender places, too. I was and am reminded of Anathema at times and there’s a bit of similarity to Baroness here and there. But I am struck with the overall impression that this is a beautiful album and great for listening to when one is in the mood. Though not very technical or complex, the songs seem to have been crafted more with the focus being on casting a mood. The concept of “Otta” is eight songs, one for each of the eight three-hour time periods of the Old Norse day. My enjoyment of this album had me considering getting a hold of one or two other Solstafir albums and I still might do that, though perhaps this is Solstafir’s penultimate release.

I do hope things work out between Gummi and the rest of the band, even though the best result may be in Gummi getting a fair deal in royalties for his contributions to the band in his artwork and drumming and then moving on. It is such a pity to read this sad news after I only just finally got a Solstafir album home.

SÓLSTAFIR Svartir Sandar

Album · 2011 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
Black sands...

Genre: post/alternative rock/metal

Sólstafir may well once have been a black metal band - I don't know because "Svartir Sandar" is my first acquaintance with Sólstafir - but there is very little on this album that pints in the direction of black metal.

The tunes on this album sound more like a blend of post metal/rock and alternative metal/rock with a slight touch of sludge (the distorted giutars have the same sort of twangy sound) and melancholic atmosphere that characterizes much Icelandic music. There are several melodic passages performed on clean guitars, and often the music on this album verges on being atmospheric, while, at other times, Sólstafir embark on thumping hard rocking passages. As I said there is very little black metal aesthetics on this release, and the hard rocking parts are more of an anternative metal/rock nature with a tough of post-punk or even a grungy edge.

The music is very introvert and melancholic, but not to the point that it becomes a load of teen emo I-hate-myself-and-all-my-friends-think-I'm-fat crap; no, the atmosphere, although a very different style of music, reminds me more of the likes of Joy Division, for some reason, or, closer to metal territory, the new release by Old Silver Key or Drudkh's "A Handful of Stars". That is, very expressive music which definitely is worth spending your precious time listening to.

The vocals are sort of tortured and have a raw rock edge to them, but are still quite melodic - sort of like Nick Holmes when he first gave up growling and started to actually sing, but still had a gruff quality to his voice. So, do not expect any black metal sneering-growls here.

Fans of post metal/rock and even non-metal fans of the more melancholic types of alternative rock, I think, will definitely enjoy this very expressive and haunting album. Fans of the likes of Alcest, Old Silver Key, and Drudkh should find this interesting, as should fans of Paradise Lost after they dropped their death metal influences.

SÓLSTAFIR Masterpiece of Bitterness

Album · 2005 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Pekka
I know it's a damn cliché, but all Icelandic bands I've so far managed to hear seem to have a certain quality you'd expect coming from people growing up surrounded by massive glaciers and beautiful nature. Once while listening to this album I thought that you could get a good picture of the music if you thought about a death metal band in dirty garage rehearsal room with a breathtaking window view over the most wonderful Icelandic wilderness. I've forgotten the sub-sub-sub-genre I made up for the band, but at least it included "space", "garage" and something totally different.

Sólstafir's second full length album presents a brutal metal band capable of producing moments of great beauty. The wild female-sung intro to the massive opening track even throws in some Morriconesque western flavors. The band isn't afraid of staying in the same place for good periods of time, which becomes very clear right off in the opener I Myself the Visionary Head, when the same, deliciously rumbling bass pattern goes on for over ten minutes with things piling on top of it or just staying still. Finally the track erupts into a blast beat driven finale. I can't believe it really took 20 minutes to get there. The rest of the tracks are somewhat more concise, but many of them come near the ten minute mark or beyond it.

And if the great songs are not enough, this album has some of my favourite sound productions ever, with a totally raw, live-like and punchy sound. I especially adore the bass, which manages to carry the opening track all the way through not least because of the perfectly fat roar it makes. Also listen to the melodies in the instrumental section of Nature Strutter, I love how it comes through from under the guitars. Another highligt is the gnarly delivery of vocalist Addi Tryggvason, somewhat resembling a Roots-era Max Cavalera, only more high-pitched and more out of control.

Often you hear talk about the "that something" that certain records might or might not have. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that the tracks, the compositions themselves would merit an excellent four star album, but the overwhelming atmosphere -or "that something", if you will - I feel when listening to this masterpiece of bitterness is worth one full star.

Hear it, please.

SÓLSTAFIR Masterpiece of Bitterness

Album · 2005 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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avestin
Psychedelic brutality

Heavy, aggressive, raw, angry, dark, repetitive, hypnotic, mesmerizing, psychedelic. Bitter? All of these words can serve as good descriptions for the music that Solstafir plays on this album.

Sólstafir is an Icelandic band that was created in 1994 and went through several phases and demo, promo and EP releases up to the point of releasing their first full-length in 2002 and this one, their second, in 2005. Sólstafir provides a listening experience that's based on mood, power and "tripping out" with the music and not on technical playing, complexity or virtuosity. If you want to know more about the background of the band, you're welcome to read the bio I've written for them in their page in Prog Archives. Made up of 7 songs, mostly long, with the opener being almost 20 minutes, this album can be exhausting (in a good way) and one needs to be in a proper mood to absorb its entire 70 minutes. The length, however, doesn't mean the songs harbor diversity or are complex epics; rather it should tell you of their inclination to create lengthy metallic freakout. At times it sounds like long repetitive and endless jams. That is, they go on for quite a while in their hypnotic riffing (which can be either slow or fast), and thus create a particular mood that can serve as a good companion to chill out or float away with your thoughts; that is until Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, the vocalist, resumes his screams. The vocals are mostly harsh screaming which to me seem to fit the music quite well, although at times can be too much or out of place; they complete very well the feel of the music and add to the intensity level. The thing is that when they're jamming or more accurately in their trance mode, it can be a bit tedious and too long; but when they garner up speed and energy, it's fabulous. Their dynamic side is impossible for me to ignore or let go by unnoticed; it's too thrilling and catchy and makes me shake my head or legs. Add to that the heaviness of their music and it can be a crushing experience. The guitars come crumbling down on my ears unmercifully and raw sounding, enhanced by the aforementioned vocals and with the blasting drums, one gets an ear a "devastating" listening experience. There are songs like Ljósfari, which have a haunting catchy melodic peak (yes, melodic). Those are great moments in the album, though not found often enough in my opinion.

A Masterpiece Of Bitterness is an angry album; it's heavy and raw. It's a great album to let loose your energies with. It's powerful and can be almost hypnotic in the parts where they play those ongoing riffs continuously. It's an effective and well made metal release but not an outstanding one. I do enjoy listening to it but there are some flaws as I mentioned in the review that prevent me from enjoying it more, such as some over-repetitiveness. I also think they should introduce more variety into their songs; there are places where I feel they could have gone further on and develop the theme or idea more and make the song more interesting and thus even more compelling to listen to.

I'm intrigued to see whether the band's next album will be in a similar vein or will they progress from this point onwards.

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