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Sólstafir - Berdreyminn (2017) - Review

Band: Sólstafir
Album title: Berdreyminn
Release date: 26 May 2017
Label: Season Of Mist

Tracklist:
01. Silfur-Refur
02. Ísafold
03. Hula
04. Nárós
05. Hvít Sæng
06. Dýrafjörður
07. Ambátt
08. Bláfjall

More than 20 years on the scene, facing ups and downs, never broken, but absolutely one of those bands that since their beginning are considered as one of the most original and inovative metal/rock acts out there, mainly inspired by the environment in which they live, cold Icelandic lands. Sólstafir with their highly recognizable and unique sound are absolutely hard to categorize, many have tried and almost everybody comes up with a different description, but yet it's pretty sure that if Pink Floyd, Bjork or Sigur Rós would be making metal or hard rock music than something similar to this would come up. Now Sólstafir offers to the world their sixth album named Berdreyminn, another chapter, another piece of the puzzle with which we are invited on the journey to explore the magical sonic world that only these four guys can offer.

Berdreyminn is a masterpiece by all means, just like it was Ótta (2014) or Svartir Sandar (2011), there's not much to add. The band sticks to the approved formula, yet on every their album we can find kind of new levels of atmospheric soundscapes, masterfully inducted surprises, in a word a whole new world to discover which is still familiar to those who were listening to any of Sólstafir's albums before. Berdreyminn might not be so very melancholic like it was Ótta and is maybe a little less epic than it was Svartir Sandar, but most certainly on here Sólstafir offer some of the best elements taken from each of their previous albums, yet spicing it up with some new things, they simply pushed it on the next level.

Listening to Sólstafir is just like walking through cold Icelandic land, you can almost feel the struggle of people who tried to survive in that hostile land, but yet there's kind of emotional warmth implemented in there, and it's nothing strange if the listener can barely hold the tears back while these soul melting melodies and highly expressive vocals snitch the senses. Like probably all of you know the lyrics are all in Icelandic language, that certainly adds a special dimension to everything, and believe me you don't need to understand the words, you'll feel them. The whole thing is so very vivid, picturesque and absolutely immersive.

I think that it's almost meaningless to expose any of the tracks, this album is for me one long epic story which should be consumed in one piece, but ok, "Hula", first half of "Hvít Sæng" and "Dýrafjörður" almost made me cry, these songs where nothing else in this world really matters anymore, the whole feeling while listening to it is almost weightless, just listen to that melancholic piano and so very intense and immersive vocals, sometimes backened by captivating female chants. Still, everything gets its real sense only as a totality which guides you through very different emotional states of mind. Pretty introspective, sometimes psychedelic, other times a bit shoegazy, also avantgardish, but throughout so very captivating.

On this ever evolving dynamic sonic journey you'll find many upbeat parts with dirty driving guitars, like in the second half of "Nárós", what a wonderful post-rocking riff in here... Sometimes they are inserting some jazzy/progressive elements, but they are never exagerating with experimentations, so the soundscapes are always very flowing, pretty comfortable, almost unearthly and above all very subtle with so much depth. Intentionally rather rough production certainly adds another dimension and makes the whole experience even more intense. Sólstafir's Berdreyminn is eclectic by a conscious choice to make feelings audible and transform taste as well as texture to sound. Berdreyminn is an adventure, still pretty dark album and beside extravagant instrumentations, only intense feelings of longing, joy, pain, nostalgia and melancholy take over the senses here and leads the listener into uncharted territories. Beautiful!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10

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Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Born For Bliss
Album title: Falling Back To Never
Release date: 16 October 2015
Label: Echozone

Born For Bliss is finally back with an album that's by all means a proper masterpiece, Falling Back To Never, which takes with such an ease the listener into a magical world that can be rarely witnessed. Falling Back To Never is like a story told in twelve chapters and as the opener "Innocent" is repetitively saying, "tell me your story, tell me you're innocent...", you know in an instant what will be about lyricaly wise. If the opening song can be counted like a rather hypnotic and psychedelic, yet very multidimensional introduction into Falling Back To Never, the real drama and whole new world opens up with "This Narrow Place". The sound on the album is somehow complex, constantly divided between the emotional, gentle, atmospheric new wave sound, and the one a bit more hypnotic, but still there's not a single second on it where it loses its extraordinary pathos. The vocal job is simply breathtaking, it's difficult to explain what kind of a power, passion and emotion is poured into it, let it be when Frank sings alone or in a duet with Lori, one of the finest examples of such a duet must be the driving "Better Than Me". The overall very atmospheric sound is often enriched with use of various electronics, synths, piano touches and much more other well thought insertions. The one who takes this sonic journey must be satisfied in the end, because albums like it's Falling Back To Never are rarely released these days. A masterpiece!

Read a full review HERE