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"The Ultimate Analysis"

Click - Avantgarde Metal - Thor Wanzek

"Sólstafir - Köld (2009)"

Dont’ be fooled by all the references to Sólstafir as having any relation to black metal. Sólstafir plays black metal the way bands like In The Woods or Manes used to play black metal - they did at one point but they sure as hell don’t anymore. But like the aforementioned bands, if you can get past the band’s unusual sound, you’ll find that Köld is every bit as rewarding a listen as any extreme metal album in your collection.

The music on Köld is rather difficult to describe, perhaps because there’s so much variation. It probably falls under the umbrella of progressive rock or metal, but without the fancy time signatures and sterile technicality that sometimes accompany that term. The instrumental opener ‘78 Days in the Desert’ is an evocative, atmospheric piece that goes by surprisingly quickly. Other tracks like ‘Love is the Devil’ and ‘She Destroys Again’ are more uptempo, while ‘Necrologue’ and ‘World Void of Souls’ are somber and depressive.

While never overly heavy, the album is surprisingly powerful. The vocal approach, which probably takes the most getting used to, is generally a melodic hybrid of screaming and clean singing and helps inject more emotion into the music while still giving it a bit of an edge. Sólstafir also has a great ear for songwriting, adeptly mixing slow and contemplative passages with driving metal riffs. Perhaps the greatest testament to Köld’s quality is that the songs seem to get better and better with each listen.

Ultimately this is one of those albums that you’ll probably either love or just not want to listen to at all. For the right kind of metal fan, this is definitely one of the most rewarding albums to come out this year.

Source: - Musical Warfare

"Sólstafir: Köld"

With several songs clocking in at over ten minutes, distinct shoegazing, long – really long – instrumental passages and total disregard for traditional song structure ‘Köld’ by Sólstafir is not exactly easily accessible. It is, however, at times stunningly brilliant.

The Icelandic quartet started out as a viking metal act in 1994 but have over the years apparently become more and more A) depressed and B) ambitious. The result sounds like Sigur Rós gone metal, the soundtrack to an Ingmar Bergman movie played in double tempo, The Hellacopters if they went to art school and did a lot of Valium – and certainly not something you hear everyday unless you are already a fan of Sólstafir. Then you probably hear the band several times every day. Because even after hearing ‘Köld’ ten times you still don’t quite understand it and you keep hearing things that you didn’t notice before.

Sólstafir can’t be accused of sucking up to their audience (the track ‘Goddess of the Ages’ is 12:42 minutes long and doesn’t really get started until six minutes into the song for crying out loud!) so the album will surely divide listeners into two groups: The first – that would be the ignorant ones – will be left totally cold by ‘Köld’. The other half – that would be the rest of us – will be mesmerized, intrigued, puzzled and certainly coming back for more of this weird, dark piece of art.

Source: - All Scandinavian - Thomas Brunstrøm

"Sólstafir - Köld"

Coming out of leftfield (well Iceland actually) is Sólstafir, largely unbeknownst to me and with their third album in tow after nigh on 15 years of existence, "Köld". A glance at their genre(s) on Metal Archives succinctly puts them as "Viking/Black Metal (old), Psychedelic Rock/Post-Hardcore (later)" and with a Myspace-page list of influences ranging from Immortal and Autopsy through to The Doors and The Beatles, I realised I was going to have my work cut out in getting my head around this one. It is at the end of a number of listens though I look back at my notes to see half the song's have been blessed with the word 'brilliant' next to it, so maybe my work won't be so hard at all...

Falling somewhere in the oceanic-sized crater that would describe those influences, "Köld" doesn't so much as hit you but casually strolls in to your world, bristling with wistful exuberance and the kind of flirtation across numerous genres one would only expect from a band hailing from such a remote outpost of the world. "Love Is The Devil (And I Am In Love)", the most upbeat track on the album and the separator of "Köld"'s two 10 minute epics, has a real hedonistic vibe, being the song recalling The Doors, The Cult and the likes with a classic rock feel and drink-swigging bravado. "Pale Rider" is another adorned with 'brilliant' in my notes. Avid readers will know of my passion for Nachtmystium's "Assassins" LP last year and "Pale Rider" here features the same rhythmic feel and impassioned lead riffs of the American's psychedelic black metal, accompanied by a fantastic vocal performance by Aðalbjörn Tryggvason. For sheer emotion and humane passion he is rivalled only by one Alan Averill ('Nemtheanga', Primordial) and is the individual highlight of an album where no instrument stands out; merely working together in the creation of an epic, melancholic vibe not unlike latter Katatonia (though it must be said far less miserable than the depressive Swedes). Concluding track, “Goddess Of The Ages" recalls Cult Of Luna and Neurosis, feeling like a trawl through the collective psyche of Sólstafir as the leading guitar threads and drones away in to different arenas, painting a picture of intense magnitude with wonderful scope, far beyond the capabilities of what most bands have to offer.

"Köld" will take up 70 minutes of your life when digested in one listen, and I recommend you do so. Given such a diversity of songs on offer alongside the progressions within the likes of "78 Days In The Desert" and the title-track the time flies so fast you'll have the need to repeat at least the last three songs like I incessantly do. "Köld" is an album to be treasured; most bands head for the safety of a pre-defined style, often aiming for a 'new' or 'old' sound. Many bands are acutely aware of this and aim for a somewhere-in-the-middle sound, yet produce albums that sound confused and tired. With "Köld" Sólstafir have missed every trap and the end result is an album that will be enjoyable for time to come and is going to be a serious contender for the end of year prizes through some good ol' inventiveness and musical imagination.

Source: - Rockfreaks - ThrashManiacAYD


Í Norðri (demo), 1995
Til Valhallar (EP), 1996
Promo Tape September (demo), 1997
Í Blóði og Anda (single), 2002
Black Death (demo), 2002
Black Death (EP), 2002
Promo 2004 (demo), 2004
Masterpiece of Bitterness (single), 2005
Köld (single), 2009



There’s something about Iceland and its arid vasts that produces especially ethereal kind of music. Be it Bjork, Múm, Sigur Rós or even progressive doomsters Sólstafir, the Icelanders’ music breathes spirituality, originality an almost astral beauty. In Sólstafir’s case that would be savage beauty.

Having been around for 15 years and having released their art very sparingly, during the years Sólstafir have honed their craft to its formless, free-flowing perfection. 2005’s “Masterpiece of Bitterness” already drew rave reviews across the globe for its musical braveness and “Köld” (extreme cold in English) sees the nonconformist Northmen pushing the envelope yet further.

Instead of proceeding linearly from point A to point B like most contemporary pop music, Sólstafir’s hypnotic doom rock paints bigger pictures. Like snow and volcanic stone of their homeland, soothing tranquillity and unpredictable sonic violence take turns in the Icelanders’ music. Formless compositions flow free, straying like a stream of consciousness across surreal musical landscapes. There are no catchy choruses here.

It could be stated that instead of music in its traditional sense, Sólstafir is an exceptional embodiment of adventurousness, charting the whole scope of musical expression. Transcending the boundaries of rock, Sólstafir defies classification. They’re hypnotic and unpredictable. Cinematic yet spontaneous. Traditional and unrestrained at the same time. Clear like Icelandic sky, black like molten lava. Trailblazing post doom.
- Taken from Spinefarm website.