SÓLSTAFIR — Masterpiece Of Bitterness (review)

SÓLSTAFIR — Masterpiece Of Bitterness album cover Album · 2005 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
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.
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Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
As with all five star albums, I naturally couldn't possibly recommend it more. Thankfully the album was released on a Finnish label, so they got quite good coverage in the media here, which led to me finding them. Or it might have been my girlfriend first. I'm pretty pissed at myself for missing their gig in Helsinki one and a half weeks ago, I just forgot about it. But I already saw them once on the new album tour, that was pretty great.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Wow that sounds really intriguing.

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