“Solstafir” Berdreyminn CD REVIEW by Nabil Hossam
Solstafir, the Icelandic post-metal band, has come up with a new release this year 2017. This is their 6th album after many successful releases and the third under Season of Mist label. The band is known for its atmospheric influences. Earlier, they used to release heavier stuff with Viking/black metal influences but their fifth album Ótta was less heavy than any other release, yet beautiful.
As we all know, the band consist of 4 members: Aðalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason (guitar & vocals), Sæþór Maríus “Pjúddi” Sæþórsson (guitar), Svavar “Svabbi” Austmann (bass) and Hallgrímur Jón “Grimsi” Hallgrímsson (drums) after the departure of the former drummer Guðmundur Óli Pálmason on 2015.
The new album is called Berdreyminn, and it’s the least heavy among all their releases. For black metal fans this might be some kind of disappointment, but on the contrary, this album doesn’t cease to amaze you regardless of the slight change of style. The album is a pure post-metal album with great atmospheric influences.
After the two singles they released prop to the album’s release “Bláfjall” and “Silfur-Refur”, there were many different opinions and some fans thought this album might be some sort of disappointment due to the lack of heavy materials in those two tracks. But the reality was something else, the reality is Solstafir never disappoints, even if they will release a softer album or if there’s a slight change of style they still can introduce a solid album. So let’s talk about Berdreyminn:
The album consists of 8 tracks plus 2 bonus tracks, it starts with one of the best tracks of the album and the second single they released prior to the album’s official release, which is called “Silfur-Refur”. The song has more atmospheric influences and the great melodies are on of its many strengths. Personally enjoyed the vocals of this song a lot and they suited the album’s atmosphere. The second track is called “ísafold”, not only you could notice the catchy melodies of this tracks, but also the great bass guitar plays during the middle of the song. The tempo of this track is faster than the first track but it focuses more on the music as it’s like 90% or more instrumental. It’s a great start and gives you a very good impression on the album. The third track is called “Hula”, a soothing track that is more like a post-rock track that starts smoothly, then the great vocals show up that are mixed with the beautiful piano plays. The track’s atmosphere itself brings so many feels and memories, it is really one of my favorite tracks of the album and I gotta say, well played Solstafir!
Track number four is called “Nárós”, and it’s a return back to the Solstafir style we know, but the softer one for the first 03:00 minutes before it gets heavier. The song is almost at the same level as the tracks before, which provides consistency to the album. The riffs are catchy and the song has a good mellow start that turns into a very good fast tempo second half after the first 03:00 minutes. Another enjoyable track that deserves attention.
The fifth track is a bit similar to the fourth one. The track is called “Hvít Sæng” and it also had a soothing intro for nearly the first 03:00 minutes, not as good as the soft part of “Nárós” but still beautiful, then the pace changes into something faster and more beautiful. Again the melodies are so enjoyable and vocals are good as always. “Dýrafjörður” is track number six, another post-rock track that provides a peaceful atmosphere and generates so many feels, exactly like “Hula”. I liked the placing of both them nearly at the end of each one-third of the album. The great piano plays are prominent.
Track number seven is called “Ambátt”, a pure post-metal track with a mellow intro as most of this album’s tracks start. It gets heavier at some points but what is the most enjoyable about this track other than the great vocals is the awesome combination of the piano and the rhythm guitar plays. This album doesn’t cease to amaze you and band members keep showing you how talented they are in each track. The eighth and the last track is called “Bláfjall”, which is the first single to be released prior to the album’s release. Personally I think it wasn’t a good decision to release this track as the first single as it doesn’t give the true image of the album, hence the different expectations. But after you listen to the previous 7 tracks you will see how good this track is because you are trapped into this album’s great atmosphere already.
Generally, I enjoyed this album, it’s very strong musically and vocally. I give it an overall rating of 9.5/10. Highlights: “Silfur-Refur”, “ísafold”, “Hula” and “Ambátt”.
Nabil Hossam/MHF Magazine