The post-rock from Reykjavik.
From old Black Metal of the first album Í Blóði og Anda to this new Ótta, Sólstafir has changed a great deal, nowadays practicing what is so called post-rock.
While still maintaining the natural atmosphere and ambience that is intrinsic to the Black Metal music, the vocals of Aðalbjörn Tryggvason has morphed into something more poppy and easy to digest (although kind of unbearable for die-hards of the real black metal cult).
Ótta is an album made of nuances, subtle changes but great expectations, as any “big band” in the threshold of Black and Rock must be.
Th epic Icelandic first track summarizes the album: called Lágnætti is a long song, with ambient parts that bears a great resemblance to the band’s past, but always keeping things a little lower profile by vocal delivering, nonetheless with great passages and larger-than-life phrases making the whole thing a great opus.
The title track is not that different, with more atmospheric parts that makes up for the bulk of the whole 9 minutes of music, intersected by heavy passages, but with long bridges that link the whole.
Other tracks are not so satisfying, exactly by the lack of this grandiose factor, which make them little rock anthems, well-suited for the non-radical headbanger. These songs are Rismál, Dagmál and Middegi. Up to this point the album swings between great poetry and pop rock onsets.
The bleakness and downcastness of heavy-hearted 11-minute Náttmál puts the album over again on the track of hermetic balladry of great value. Rich textures and imaginative composition transform this song into a true Nordic Saga.
Ótta is recommended, most of all, for those who like their metal cold with bits of amiable tunes, far from their wicked black metal days, but somewhat retaining the coldness of before.
Ótta is out now on Season of Mist