Artist: Sólstafir

Album Title: Endless Twilight Of Co-Dependent Love

Label: Season Of Mist

Date of Release: 6 November 2020

Back in 2014, when undertaking my now-annual tradition top albums of the year countdown, I awarded ‘Ótta’, the fifth release from Icelandic post rock/metal band Sólstafir the number three spot. It was my first real dalliance with the band and that record simply came from nowhere to blow me away. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for insanely good releases from two of my favourite bands in the same year (Evergrey’s ‘Hymns For The Broken’ and ‘Distant Satellites’ by Anathema), ‘Ótta’ may have bagged the top spot. It was just that good.

Then, in 2017, the quartet released ‘Berdreyminn’, an album that pushed ‘Ótta’ close, but fell just short of surpassing it. Nevertheless, with such a high quality one-two in the bag, I have been waiting eagerly for a follow-up. Finally, in 2020, it has arrived in the form of ‘Endless Twilight Of Co-Dependent Love’.

More than any other year I think, I have found myself liking new releases from bands that I’d previously not cared for, forcing me to firmly re-evaluate my thoughts. With this record, it’s a little bit the opposite. Here is a band that I have really loved for the past couple of releases in particular, but try as I might, I just can’t get overly excited by this new one. Now, before I get all the hate mail thrown at me, allow me to explain. I am in no way saying that ‘Endless Twilight Of Co-Dependent Love’ is a bad or even sub-standard album. It isn’t. The music is unarguably very good, and I suspect that there have been many reviews written that extol the virtues of the Icelandic band.

What I have come to realise quite profoundly as I listen to this album more deeply, is that I like Sólstafir more when they are exploring quieter, generally more melancholy soundscapes. I’m less keen when they veer into more heavy, abrasive realms. Sounds a little counter-intuitive I know, but that’s definitely the case here.

Tracks like the opener, ‘Akkeri’ have some nice ideas with a particularly nice melody buried deep at the heart of the song. But the crash, bang, wallop of fuzzed-up dirty post-rock riffs, and more aggressive vocals that feature so prominently are not hitting the mark for me if I’m being brutally honest. The eerie, quiet, and introspective sections stand out as being far more enjoyable for my tastes. Admittedly, the groove that emerges from one such quiet interlude is rather infectious, as is a vaguely NWOBHM melody that is a surprise. But I soon lose interest as the song marches to its conclusion.

Much could be said for the closing track, ‘Úlfur’ as well as ‘Dionysus’ placed midway through the album. Again, both have some quality running through them as well as plenty of variety in the case of the final song. But I simply don’t derive the same amount of pleasure from either of these as I do from other tracks on ‘Endless Twilight Of Co-Dependent Love’.

I think some of it has to do with the deliberately raw production. It might be the quality of the mp3 promo that I have, but everything sounds a little too fuzzy, echoey and harsh on my poor little ears. Again, many might see this as a positive but not me, I’m afraid.

Give me songs like ‘Drýsill’ any day of the week. Dark, moody, emotional, full of atmosphere, and topped off by some beautiful melodies, this is the Sólstafir that I like the best as it transpires. I feel more of a connection to the music, and am far more engaged and moved by the output. The lead guitar licks are haunting and arresting in equal measure, the bass is gorgeous and understated, whilst the waves of synths are beguiling. And when the song does veer into heavier territory, it remains built around the central, powerful melodies, meaning that they work better from my perspective. In essence, this is a killer song and it once again transports me to a rugged country with which I have a strong affinity.

I still remain in two minds about the unconventional vocals of guitarist Aðalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason on this record too. At times, I find his delivery to be jarring and obtrusive to my overall enjoyment. However, on tracks like ‘Rökkur’ towards the end, he fits the music so perfectly, it’s insane, even if it isn’t my favourite song to begin with. But the frustration, angst and poignant delicacy is so engrossing, I do get swept up in the emotion of it all as it draws to a close.

‘Til Moldar’, on the other hand is utterly magical and stunningly beautiful. It’s much more ethereal and ambient in tone, with Tryggvason sounding more vulnerable than at any other point. The melodies are captivating, as is the apparent simplicity of the composition, proving that when it comes to Sólstafir, less can be more, very much more.

The exception to the ‘heavy’ rule I earlier applied can be found with ‘Or’. The quiet piano intro is cool, as is the relaxed vibe that permeates in the opening stages. But the song gradually builds in intensity, and on this occasion, the more jagged sounds work, thanks to the strength of the melodies and the variety that’s injected to prevent the music getting too overbearing. In fact, I have to admit that this song is a bit of an anthem, truth be told.

NeverthelessIt pains me to say it, but some of the magic of Sólstafir seems to have dissipated on ‘Endless Twilight Of Co-Dependent Love’. There are still some tracks that make me remember what it was that beguiled me on their previous two albums. However, it’s a mixed bag that frustrates me as much as it impresses me. When they are hot, Sólstafir can be damn near untouchable. But when they’re not, I’m itching to press the skip button. Still, kudos to the band for continuing to go their own merry way – it means that there isn’t another band out there that sounds like them, something that is sorely lacking these days. Regardless of my review, I highly recommend checking out ‘Endless Twilight Of Co-Dependent Love’ for yourselves because you might love it.

The Score of Much Metal: 79%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Communic – Hiding From The World

Wolverine – A Darkened Sun

Avandra – Skylighting

Pyramaze – Epitaph

Necrophobic – Dawn Of The Damned

Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night

Draconian – Under A Godless Veil

Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede

DGM – Tragic Separation

Perduratum – Exile’s Anthology

Carcass – Despicable EP

Mors Principium Est – Seven

Cult Of Lilith – Mara

Helion Prime – Question Everything

Soul Secret – Blue Light Cage

Enslaved – Utgard

Dynfari – Myrkurs er þörf

Amaranthe – Manifest

Kataklysm – Unconquered

Structural Disorder – Kingdom Crossing

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment Of Chaos

Prehistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter One)

Ihsahn – Pharos

Hinayana – Death Of The Cosmic
Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber
Okyr – Premorbid Intelligence
Manticora – To Live To Kill To Live
Pain Of Salvation – Panther
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium
Unleash The Archers – Abyss
Veonity – Sorrows
Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
Ages – Uncrown
Awake By Design – Awake By Design
Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
Gaerea – Limbo
Buried Realm – Embodiment Of The Divine
Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews


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