Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sólstafir w/Nordic Giants in Paris (@Le Nouveau Casino, 27/01/2015)

Rushing across Paris as fast as humanly possible, I arrived at Le Nouveau Casino last thuesday with the firm determination of not missing out on a single song that evening. As I took the time to catch my breath, I stepped into the venue to find the room absolutely jam-packed with people.  With both French dates marked as sold-out, it seems pretty clear that, in light of last years’ unfortunate tour cancellation, Solstafir’s concert had been long-awaited by French fans.

Opening for the Icelandic quartet was a post-rock band named Nordic Giants. The duo took to the stage wearing tribal clothes and masks covered in feathers foreshadowing the importance of the visual aspect of the bands' performance. Making use of the stages' backdrop as well as a TV screen placed at the front of the stage, the bands' music acted as a score for various short films, embarking every single audience member on a poetic voyage beyond reality to explore the endless wonders of human imagination.
The band visibly took great care in turning their shows into a perfectly cohesive show, as the compositions were perfectly fitted to bring each short film to life, creating an incredibly immersive experience. With one anonymous musician handling keyboards and the occasional trumpet sections on one hand, and the other taking care of percussions and guitar duties, the band managed to create an impressively rich, larger-than-life quality with their climactic songs.  Each song had its beautiful and haunting melodies within rich compositions paced with superb crescendos and outbursts of thunderous drum grooves. The second half of their set marked the appearance of a few sampled guest vocalists who were brilliantly incorporated into the scenery of each cinematic piece.
In short, Nordic Giants provided us with an incredibly beautiful musical and visual experience to which I can only respond to by giving my highest praise. For any fans of cinematic post-rock from the likes of Maybeshewill or God is an astronaut, I highly recommend checking out this band and looking out for their upcoming performances.

Then came the time for tonights' headling act to mark their long awaited return to Le Nouveau Casino. Starting things off with the moody intro Náttfari off their now 10 year old album Masterpiece of Bitterness, it did not take more than the first few notes for the band to instantly mesmerize their entire audience with their unique sonicscapes of unfathomable beauty. Following the brief intro, the band went straight to business by hitting off with the excellent Köld, off their album of the same name. With the exception of 1 more song off each of the aforementioned albums, the bands' set will go on to feature exclusively songs off their last 2 records, with an emphasis on their latest full-length effort: Ótta.
Anyone having witnessed a live show by the Icelandic quartet must understand how captivating it was to see and hear these majestic compositions come to life before our very eyes. As every song drew to a close, the sound of every instrument would gradually die out to eventually leave way for the five or six seconds of silence from an audience completely taken away. I found myself deeply moved every time every song would fade into these lulling moments of silence followed by thunderous cheers from the audience, these brief fragile moments during which everyone slowly returns to the present moment after having been carried far, far away.
The sound of wailing bowed guitars and magnificent, roaring reverberated leads echoing across the venue were complemented by what I can only qualify as a perfect vocal performance. Not only staying pitch-perfect, Aðalbjörn "Addi" Tryggvaso's powerful live vocals convey an incredible amount of raw emotion on every song. I've even spotted a couple of audience members that were so moved during the gig that they would occasionally break into tears of joy.
Other than that, the show had a few moments during which some instruments weren't audible enough (most notably the banjo and the rhythm guitar), but needless to say that these minor issues did little to bother, let alone compromise the band's absolutely stellar performance.

In short, Tuesdays’ gig at Le Nouveau Casino was one of top-quality performances for both bands. With Nordic Giant's awe inspiring cinematic post-rock set and Solstafir’s powerfully engaging take on post-metal, this was certainly not an evening to miss out on. For any fans that happened to have missed out on this sold-out gig, I can only suggest you pay close attention to both bands' future tour dates.


Nordic Giants 

Official Website


Nordic Giants Setlist 

1. (Unknown)     (film - "Lunar" by Tyson Wade Johnston)
2. Mechanical Minds     (film - "The Gift" by Carl Erik Rinsch)
3. The Seed     (film - "Death of an Insect"… more )
4. Through a Lens Darkly     (film - "The Last Breath" by David Jackson)
5. Néoténie     (film - "Reload" by Jodeb)
6. Together     (film - "Pencilhead" by
7. Little Bird     (film - "Solipsist" by Andrew Thomas Huang)
8. (Unknown)
Outro (film - "The Last Breath" final scene)



Sólstafir setlist
1. Náttfari
2. Köld
3. Lágnætti
4. Rismál
5. Ótta
6. Svartir Sandar
7. Djákninn
8. Dagmál
9. 78 Days in the Desert
10. Fjara
11. Goddess of the Ages

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