SÓLSTAFIR — Svartir Sandar (review)

SÓLSTAFIR — Svartir Sandar album cover Album · 2011 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
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.
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