FROM: REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
And hell is it dark. The distorted feedback that welcomes album opener 'Brennisteinn' ('Brimstone') feels like the sky itself is being rent asunder and hell is spilling forth to claim us while Jónsi does his thing amidst the carnage. Gosh darn, is it something. It's still beautiful, but there is a rumbling thunder throughout the record that is both terrible and perfect. Sigur Rós manage to serve up everything you know and love them for whilst delving into some terrifying new sonic heavens and hells. Sometimes guitars howl and the drums thunder, crashing like storms upon rocks. Sometimes strings slide, horns sound and bells rattle like jars full of rain on the side of a mountain. Sometimes all at once. This is music where you can find a trance. There are peaks and ebbs and bows in every phrase and every movement within the vast symphony of the 43 minute record. The vocals are still focal with that ethereal signature style being employed, and controlled aggression in the drumming and percussion help to focus the sounds and keep the album from dawdling. The band also makes use of driving bass under much of the record, while distortion, electronic and otherwise cuts into the sonic palette to outstanding effect.
Hell is it dark.
'Kveikur' burns with energy that is dark, positive, moody, elated and ultimately inspirational and cleansing. It's a spectacular piece of music, and I defy people to not be touched by it. This can be cried to, loved to, studied to and celebrated to. You probably wouldn't put it on a party (that's what 'Yeezus' is for). Do yourself a great big emotional favour and add 'Kviekur' to the soundtrack of your life.