Words by Wim Van Hooste
The latest release by Sólstafir, Berdreyminn (The dreamer of forthcoming events), is the band’s sixth release in 15 years. On the previous releases, Í Blóði og Anda (2002), Masterpiece of Bitterness (2005), Köld (2009), Svartir Sandar (2011), and Ótta (2014), they ignored all genre borders, both metal and mental ones, and pushed the boundaries. The album was produced by Birgir Birgisson (Sigur Rós, Alcest) and Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Paradise Lost, Oranssi Pazuzu) at the former swimming pool Sundlaugin on the borders of Reykjavík.
Opener, ‘Silfur-Refur’, brings in mind the duo Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone, but the man with the harmonica has lost the battle against the bad and ugly men with the guitars. The 2nd song is the single ‘Ísafold’, the shortest and also most radio-friendly track, as Muse meets the Red Hot Chili Peppers. No socks, no glory. ‘Hula’ is an angelic post-rock track, aber Gott weiß ich will kein Engel sein [Ed. Rammstein ‘Engel’]. Just when you think track IV, ‘Nárós’, is a sort of intermezzo, the song explodes right in your face leaving a vicious scar. In the 5th song the famous Icelandic singing poet Megas brings us a visit, dressed in a black leather jacket and headbanging on ‘Hvít Sæng’. The Vikings enter the ‘Dýrafjörður’ fjord, softly and smoothly like gentlemen. The longest track ‘Ambátt’ features some wordy rappinghood. The apotheosis is ‘Bláfjall’, in which adventurous mountaineers conquer a cathedral.
It must not have been easy to record a splendid successor to their masterpiece Ótta, and that minus one founding member, drummer Gummi. On Berdreyminn the boys of Sólstafir have once more built a more than mediocre metal castle on a solid rocky surface, boxing against heavy riffs.
Sólstafir – Berdreyminn
5. Hvít Sæng