Review ISAFØRD ‘Hjartastjaki’

Listening to ‘Hjartastjaki’, one or the other might ask why this record gets a review on MHMB. Well, the answer is simple. Isaførd, that’s the moniker that stands for the collaboration of well known artists, musicians from rock and metal.

The first hint is given by the band’s origin: Iceland. More precisely Ísafjörður, a town in Iceland which is the home of the fathers of Aðalbjörn Addi Tryggvason (Sólstafir) and Ragnar Zolberg (Sign/ex-Pain of Salvation).

The sound of Ísafjörður is nevertheless fundamentally different from the music of the mother ships and yet has the same emotional roots. What Addi and Ragnar deliver on this debut album is melancholic and dark. The duo couldn’t have chosen the artwork for ‘Hjartastjaki’ any better, as it expresses exactly what you feel when listening to songs like ‘Fjord of Hope’.

Even though there is a certain heaviness inherent in the song, the album is not a depressive treatise on the Nordic winter. It always resonates a little hope and it is rather the feeling of a peaceful self-reflection in hectic times. Here you can literally see the Icelandic nature with all its beauty and natural power passing by your mind’s eye.

The album starts with a song called ‘Falin Skemmd’ where the arcs of sound immediately stand out. Enthusiasts of riffs are not really served on ‘Hjartastjaki’. Rather, it is the atmospheric sounds that take the listener on an extraordinary and emotional musical journey, which includes the somber ‘Mín Svarta Hlið’. In this album, the cold of winter merges with the warmth of the heart and both are reflected in songs like ‘Kuldaró’.

‘Hjartastjaki’ reflects Iceland in a grandiose way. On one side cool and calm like the endless landscape, on the other side hot and churning, like a volcano slumbering under the surface. This is how ‘Hjartastjaki’ presents itself, an album that is made for a quiet and gray Sunday afternoon with headphones on the couch.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Falin Skemmd
  2. Mín Svarta Hlið
  3. Hjartastjaki
  4. Heiðin
  5. Kuldaró
  6. Fjord of Hope
  7. Njálssaga
  8. Andvök

Label: Svart Records

Genre: Post-Rock

Release Date EU: December 2nd, 2022

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