Solstafir 

Dec. 12, Shredder

If Pacific Northwest bands are informed by the bittersweet nature of the area's green yet cloudy and gray environment, the vast, stunning, almost surreal vistas of Iceland are clearly an inspiration for its artists, too. There's a melancholy beauty in the island country's rocky shores, ice caps and glacial landscapes--much of which seems to find its way into its musical exports. The haunting melodies and razor-edged metal from Icelandic band Solstafir, which is touring with headliners Pallbearer, are eerily exquisite, with singer Aoalbjorn Tryggvason delivering dark lyrics in a voice that feels steeped in history and mystery, whether he's singing in his native language or in English. Together since around 1994, Solstafir has a history, too, and with the release of stunner Otta, (Seasons of Mist, 2014), the band will definitely be around for the foreseeable future.

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