Live Video: Sólstafir at KEX Hostel

photo by Jim Bennett (view set)

It might surprise listeners that Iceland isn’t chock full of death metal bands like some other Nordic nations. The small music-loving community needs only so much Cookie Monster-esque guttural growling, after all, and so the heavier sounding bands tend to explore other regions. Icelandic group Sólstafir, for instance, seem to travel vast aural distances, across sprawling tundra, lava fields and glaciers to deep fjords and tall volcanoes. In other words, their sound is as epic as the country’s terrain. Though named for a sunbeam (“sólstafir” is the Icelandic term for a crepuscular ray), the band is equally as dark as the clouds from which they emerge and certainly as dynamic as Iceland’s tempestuous weather. In fact, on the day of their performance live on KEXP during Iceland Airwaves ’12, Reykjavik was being battered by record gales in what many locals called the stormiest day of their lives. Within the safety and comfort of KEX Hostel, Sólstafir fittingly began their set with “Ljós í Stormi” (or “Light in the Storm”), the opening track to their incredible 2011 album, Svartir Sandar. Three songs in 30 minutes, for the band it was a short set, but for those in attendance it was epic journey. Take it for yourself here:

Full performance:

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