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  • AndySynn

    Pretty much. Huuuuuuuuge fan of these guys myself (they’re definitely one of the NCS “house bands” by this point), but this one has really left me a bit… not cold exactly, more… nonplussed?

    Personally I feel like Svartir Sandar remains their high point (though Kold will always be my personal favourite), but I am hopeful that this one will grow on me some more. As it stands however… a little forgettable.

  • Panagiotis Krokidas

    I found it a highly boring listening experience. I dragged myself half-way and then gave up.

  • SinNoMore

    As much as I’d like to like this, I just can’t. First single was a major disappointment and now listening the whole album feels just boring and cold, like others have pointed out. Some fantastic record they have, but this one seems to be one to forget.

    Can’t help myself thinking about hoe line-up change and firing of Guðmundur Óli Pálmason have affected their writing and recording. I don’t know who is right and who is wrong in their legal cases, but apparently that Katla-band is having better musical output.

    • That’s a good point. Makes me wonder what Guðmundur Óli Pálmason’s songwriting contribution was to their overall output…

      That aside, it wasn’t so much Hallgrímur Jón Hallgrímsson’s skill I had issue with, but more the drum sound in the final product.

      • Excentric_13073

        I’m trying to separate art from artist, but it’s really hard not to associate the dismissal of Pálmason with the drop in quality of concept and execution on this album.

  • Dethjesta

    Like you, I was a really big fan of Otta and had high expectations for this album. I totally agree with the first thought of the review – it was always going to be a hard follow up album.

    I think that the musical direction here is welcome (to me), it sure has a prominent 80s feel thoughout the album. I have found a fair amount of enjoyment in the album and feel that it’s a worthy, albeit inferior, successor.

  • hardysponge

    I really dig this album! Especially the Fields of the Nephilim guitars, e.g. in Bláfjall. I prefer this to Otta as far as I can tell after 5-6 spins.

  • Soze

    I’m loving it. Takes a few listens to really get your head round but for me it’s one of the best albums of the year so far.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Agreed

  • a glass o’ milk

    This is a tough one. Love the warm, more rocking sound, not so much the songwriting that comes along with it… Really on the fence with this one.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    This album was my first exposure to Solstafir and it was Hula that made me buy their whole back catalog.
    I guess that’s why it sounds less derivative to me.
    Being a huge Sigur Ros fan I have no issue with the vocals, although they can be harsh they also are part of the allure.

    If this is a 2.5 I’m excited to hear their other albums!

  • This is my album of the year so far and by a large margin. Hula and Dyrafjordur are amazing tracks, but I can’t find a weak track on the album. It’s one of the few albums this year that I can listen to from beginning to end. If I was to pick a weak spot, I’d say the vocals are a little rough at times. When I heard the preview tracks I was a little worried, but even those tracks now sound great after listening to the whole album.

  • Ironwood_Druid

    Hmmm, not sure what to think of this honestly. I quite liked this on my first listen through, and to be fair, I think much of what could be opined about this album’s strong/weak points are fairly similar to things which could be said of their past work.

  • Eli Valcik

    They added more of what I liked about Otta but took away more of what I loved about Otta.

  • Marc Rikmenspoel

    Wow, this makes it clear that you and I, Madam X, hear very different things when we listen to the same album. I respect your well-explained opinions, and both this new Solstafir and Fen’s Winter are divisive among listeners. But both are 2017 highlights for me, with this one a 4, and Fen a 4.5. Both have that “it” quality. They speak to me with words that others, including you and two of my Metal friends (with whom I share frequent discussions) don’t hear. It’s interesting to observe how tastes diverge, as we all find our own sonic gems, diamonds in the rough of the mass of releases.

  • hallowed

    I think it’s a great album. Otta is a monument, no doubt, but this holds up pretty well. Dýrafjörður is a fantastic song.

  • ricLP81

    Wow, I usually don’t disagree with reviews on this website, but this one feels like it missed the mark. While nothing exceptional, and taking into account that it is not that different from Otta, it still is a pretty good album. 3.5 in my book

  • rumour_control

    Really good writing about a complex point of view. Logical, well-conceived, soundly executed, as always.

  • Chris Benadie

    This is brilliant. It has a certain atmosphere. My first exposure to this band. When it’s time to give this one a break, although it might not be in the near future, I’ll give Otta a turn, by the look of things that will be special.

    • Lipsy

      Svartir Sandar was the album that turned me onto the band. It is therefore my favourite and also worthy of checkin gout.

  • Feytalist

    It’s definitely missing the something special that made Otta so good.

    But beyond that, I actually really like the album. It’s a surprisingly calm-sounding album for such heavy subject material.

  • The production of this record leaves a lot to be desired (and that’s putting it very lightly).

    • I’m shocked there hasn’t been more comment on that.

      • You wot m8?

        Listening to this on sone really nice headphones, and it just sounds weird. It’s not a absolute brickwall, but it’s almost like some artificial cap was placed on the dynamism and volume of certain sounds. Some tones hit the noticeable brickwall right away, and some are allowed through. I don’t get it.

    • Barely on topic; Nice to see the dynamic figures presented as DR: 4-6, as the average has a tendency to not tell the full truth. One measly acoustic interlude can offset the average with a whole notch or two.

      • I agree. Putting the average would have been very misleading in this case especially.

  • Sharp-Blunt Boy

    This, to me, sounds like a band confidently luxuriating in their own unique sound. I haven’t noticed the crap production yet (in the car) but i am really digging the musical dynamism – the album has a heap of interesting flourishes (some bold, some subtle).

    It just makes me wonder where to next. Will they be daring enough to do an Ulver sad boy synth pop?

  • sjforr

    “Bands, they’re damned if they reinvent themselves or change their approach from one album to the next and they’re damned if they don’t.” This is spot on Madame X. Thank you for saying it.
    I’m convinced that the best music comes from artists who treat their fans with disdain and just do whatever the fuck it is that they want to do.
    For example, I’m a huge fan of Opeth, a band that definitely has tested the faith of its fans over the years, and as is clear from my Avatar, my favourite album is MAYH. Did Heritage take me by surprise? You bet. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed the first time I heard it. But that passed when I pulled my head out of my arse. IMHO the last three Opeth albums are completely brilliant, and we’d never have them if MA just listened to what his fans demanded of him.
    I really appreciate the thought that went into this review. Thank you. I’m intrigued to listen to this album now.

    • tomasjacobi

      You’ll be disappointed when you listen to it. They didn’t change their style or reinvent themselves. The quality of their songwriting is just quite a bit below previous albums and the loud mastering is horrible.

  • Well this is my first introduction to the band and I absolutely love this album. Curious as to whether this means I WON’T like their previous works…

    • If you love this I think you’ll love the previous 2 albums especially. I already love the previous 2 and think this is right up there with them.

      • Oh, good to know! The review and some of the band’s fans seem down on this release, so I did wonder…

  • Daniribalbert

    I was really looking forward to this one, but it didn’t catch my heart like their previous albums.

  • P.

    This album has been a mediocre attempt to keep their status as post rock legends, in summary.

    Silfur-Refur is the only song that caught my attention, but it was only nicer sounds, no surprises at all! I mean (excluding Í blóði og anda and Masterpiece of Bitterness, which just kick asses), you listen to Svartir Sandar and there are masterpieces in there like Djákninn, Melrakkablús, Svartir Sandar and Þín orð (even Kukl is awesome with its simplicity). Ótta is not my favorite, but Lágnaetti is for sure one of their best. And fuck, Köld is just the shit!

    So, it’s difficult to admit this album because all of their efforts and excitement from the previous ones aren’t here. I don’t really care about Gummi (he has another band and their EP’s are good), but it seems he had a very good part on the composition, or even the creativity of the band. I can only hope they really enjoy what they are doing.

  • El Lado Oscuro

    The record is still a great demonstration of their abilities, though its sound is not so aggressive than the previous ones, I still like it very much, for a 4 at least.

    • Being the the first promo I was sent for review had the levels so muted I had to turn my player up from 7 (normal) up to 22 just to be able to hear it. And the follow-up promo went to the opposite extreme, I’d really like to hear this album with a DR rating similar to Otta applied. I’d like to see if unbottling this record improves the listening experience enough to push the album over the 3 or a 3.5 range.

  • sir_c

    I think MadamX said it right that it would make a nice road-tripping album. That is what I like about this album: the songs blend together quite well and thus show some coherence. Also, during a road trip, the brickwalled production is less apparent among the engine hum and other noise of the car.

    At home with some proper headphones however, the production does sound bad. I don’t like how the drum sound turns to a big mush when things get wild. It’s not just distorted, it just goes everywhere.

    The lack of dynamics (which one needs for contrast in music like this) stand out like an erection at a kindergarten.

  • herrschobel

    bóring

  • De2013

    Wait, what? 2.5? TBH I haven’t listened to the record in full detail, but I liked the preview tracks and the first couple of tracks on the album. From what I heard, I expected somewhat better than a 2.5. Funny, this is your first review where we are not fully aligned on the rating. No hard feelings tho :-) Great review.

    Did you notice the Pink Floyd influences?
    Is the production on the Bandcamp release just as bad?

  • Every time I listen to it, I have trouble with keeping myself focused on the music. After the first track my mind flows away somewhere and I there is nothing I can do about it. “Otta” demanded attention from start to finish, while this is just… forgettable.

    I was preparing for another masterpiece and, sadly, I agree with Madam’s verdict:(

  • Heldarc

    I went back to Solstafir based on this review, as I remember finding myself completely amazed by how could Otta get 5.0 as it was totally boring for me. Fortunately, I propably grew up, cause now I think that rating is justified and I discovered new love for this band and that album ( I thank you for that, Madam ).

    This album is definitely more accessible then Otta and despite agreeing with big part of your review Madam, I think this one is different, but as good as Otta.

    • I’d love to hear this new release with better production. Im pretty sure that would make a big difference.