Modern time is rubbish

“Ótta” is the fifth full-length Sólstafir (Solar Pillars) album. Although released on a metal label, Season of Mist, Sólstafir has moved far away from the classic metal attitude. This longplayer made by 4 pagan cowboys marks the continuous make-over from black metalheads with viking helmet into melodic, post-metal rockers. Previously the quartet formed by Addi, Svabbi, Pjúddi and Guðmundur Óli, was often considered as the metal counterparts of Sigur Rós. The 4 forerunners of “Ótta” are their debut album “Í Blóði og Anda” (2002), “Masterpiece of Bitterness” (2005), “Köld” (2009), and “Svartir Sandar” (2011).

In ancient, let’s say viking times, the 24 hour day was divided into 8 parts of 3 hours each (‘Eyktar’). Each song title on the album refers to 1/8 of the solar day. Opener “Lágnætti” (00:00) sounds like Skálmöld’s viking Baldur goes Faith No More in an epic, orchestral manner. The title track, “Ótta” (3:00), could have been a HÖH production for a movie, or a new chapter in the fantastic ‘Odin’s Raven’ setting (the collaboration of Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson Steindór Andersen, Páll Guðmundsson and María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir from 2002). “Rismál” (miður morgunn, 6:00) starts à capella and stays a song driven by the gloomy vocals of Addi, a rímur song for the post-headbang, headache days. Track four is the album’s core “Dagmál” (9:00). ‘Shout, let it all out!’ in “Miðdegi” (hádegi, 12:00), a post-lunch song to stimulate the intestines. It’s almost time for high tea in track VI, “Nón” (15:00). In “Miðaftann (miður aftann, 18:00) the chef is in the kitchen preparing a delicious dinner, I guess for the British trio Suede, Oasis and The Verve. Le Grand finale is track “Náttmál” (21:00), with a fading away sort of military salute. “Ótta” is the fantastic, fully fledged fiesta of this fourpiece. This is an album for the surplus value seeker of the rock and metal scene: a gymnastic straddle between the 2 styles. Anyway and anyhow, the album makes your day, all day long.

– Wim Van Hooste

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