SÓLSTAFIR – Ótta – Season of Mist

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


 

(Daniel Death)

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Somnambulist Red – Birth Throes, Shadows And Serpentine Curves (Wraith Productions)

Serpentine curves of post punk apocalyptic music

If you’re into strange guitar curves, iteration of any sort and a remarkable riff, this is for you: just ONE SONG clocking in at 3 minutes and 47 seconds this is what Somnambulist Red has to offer: the name of the crime is Birth Throes, Shadows And Serpentine Curves, the same name of the EP. But although the attitude of releasing this song is unfathomable, the sound is not that weird: it’s heavy but it has a dancing approach like a marriage of Testament, Dream Theater and New Order: I honestly can say nothing further about this song, but it’s good. It’s just not enough to explain why just one song, although the press release says it is an “appetizer for their forthcoming album” Well, they got me interested, and I’ll keep you posted.

Birth Throes, Shadows And Serpentine Curves is going to be released on May 13th on Wraith Productions


(Daniel Death)

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Harakiri For The Sky – Aokigahara – (Art of Propaganda)

A modern take of black and death metal.

The terminology post-black metal connotes something intelligent, nerdy, cutting edge, but it’s just hipster. So to label a band like Harakiri For The Sky like “post-black metal” is really a stupid thing to do, as stupid as the name of the band itself.

But the band is not bad; on the contrary, they are really good in what they do. So why not say they are a modern take of black and melodic death metal? Because that’s what they really are.

That been said, their sound is over the top music for those who are fans of Germ, a sound really innovative and full of surprises.

The first tracks My Bones to the Sea, Jhator and Homecoming Denied have a black metal backdrop into their metallic post-punk approach of their music; lengthy yet catchy these songs will satisfy those who are seeking for something different to hear in their leisure times.

69 Dead Birds for Utoya (which is a clearly reference to the 2011 Utøya massacre in Norway) sounds more like the excellent Cult of Luna (and I really think they draw a huge inspiration from them). But Harakiri For The Sky are original and bold.

The song Part is back with some black metal vocals and a sentimental fretwork, and the double bass drum overcomes the whole song. Of course given the nature of the opus it’s not a blast beat. Piano parts borrowed from the post-punk era may occur before the song explodes again into the aforementioned lament.

Panoptycon is a fave because they maintain that DSBM vibe and one doesn’t need an intense memory activity to take this song for the very first time. It’s black metal even after some songs that escape completely from the style. Interesting how they distribute the songs in the CD.

But the best moments though come with the track Nailgarden and its folk approach without get out of the initial proposal of the album. They’re Austrians after all, so they have some Dornenreich in their DNA.

Gallows (Give ‘Em Rope) is the most aggressive number of the album and the closer is a metallic rendition of a Tears for Fears song Mad World (available on LP edition ONLY).

 Aokigahara is indicated for those who are open-minded and don’t fear the new approaches. But if you hear the label post-black metal again, RUN TO HILLS.

 

Aokigahara is going to be released on April 21st on Art of Propaganda


 

 

(Daniel Death)

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