Isafjørd - Hjartastaki (2022)


Formed by Aðalbjörn Addi Tryggvason (Sólstafir) and Ragnar Zolberg (Sign/x-Pain of Salvation), Isafjørd is a new project that delivers a very unique and bleak form of Post-Rock, filled with desolation and despair. Perfect for the winter, this release clocks around 52 minutes of expertly crafted music divided in eight tracks filled with melancholy and atmosphere. If you like Post-Rock, but of the more depressive kind, this is an album you can't miss.

Opening with the trance-inducing “Falin Skemmd”, the band really sets a low-energy desolate mood with weeping guitars and crafty percussions. Aðalbjörn Tryggvason’s vocals perfectly fit the level of melancholy created by the group and when sung in Icelanding add that extra layer of uniqueness as they transmit emotions without necessarily understanding the lyrics, as “Mín Svarta Hlið” and “Hjartastjaki” perfectly capture.

Each track creates its own unique soundscape, each as desolate as the other, creating a very unique cohesive effect as one moves through the albums with pieces like “Heiðin”, “Kuldaró”, and the goosebump-inducing “Fjord of Hope”. This last track features an intense vocal performance that is perfectly highlighted by the lush and yet minimalist instrumental arrangements. Other songs show some small rays of light, as “Njálssaga” and its sweeping organs fill the room.

As one of the bleakest and most depressing (in a good way) releases of 2022, “Hjartastaki” is one of our favorite highly atmospheric releases of the year. While not exactly what Sólstafir fans would expect, Isafjørd is a very solid band with a unique and very characteristic sound that commands your full attention for complete enjoyment. With each spin there are always new layers and details to be found, so make sure you fully explore this release with ample time.

Band: Isafjørd Album: Hjartastaki

Label: Svart Records

Release: December 2nd, 2022

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Genre: Post-Rock

Country: Iceland

Rating: 93/100

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