SÓLSTAFIR -Köld (2009)

Sólstafir - Köld Sólstafir (Icelandic for “radiating sun beams”) were, to the best of my knowledge, a black metal band. That’s what they played on Í Blóði og Anda (“Of Blood and Spirit); Köld, on the other hand, is not so easily classifiable, but in the best way possible. I never imagined the band capable of anything this good. Köld is all over the place (again, in a good way): there’s some death ‘n roll, some traditional black metal, some doom-blues, some traditional hard rock. Imagine if Nachtmystium, Alice In Chains and Neurosis got hammered while listening to Entombed’s DCLXVI – To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak The Truth – it would sound something like this. I haven’t heard Sólstafir’s previous album, Masterpiece of Bitterness, but now, I have every reason too.

The album’s aforementioned diversity is key. The band have placed the most “black metal” of the songs near the beginning of the album, and they save the more a-traditional ones for the backend of the record – once Necrologue begins, the album will rarely sound the same from song to song. Some of what the band accomplish here is marvelous; the closing track Goddess of the Ages sounds like Mono covering an outtake from Novembre’a Novembrine Waltz. World Void of Souls (before it explodes into a black metal storm in its final minutes) would be right at home on a Skepticism album; it’s got that same unwavering bleakness to it. Even when the band sight their sights on goth rock territory, things still seem to go right for them; Love Is The Devil (And I Am In Love) just might be the best HIM song not actually written by HIM – sure, it’s cheesy and indulgent, but damn it, something about it works.

Köld is the first great metal album of 2009, and it more than makes up for me having to slog through Ephel Duath’s Through My Dog’s Eyes (ugh). Sólstafir, congrats: you’ve made yourselves one hell of an album.

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One Response to “SÓLSTAFIR -Köld (2009)”

  1. […] full length follow-up due in May), as well as a totally unexpected masterpiece from Iceland’s Solstafir, and now Memoria Vetusta II from Blut Aus Nord. I can barely contain my excitement for what might […]

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