Stilla – Ensamhetens Andar

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Review by Jason Guest

Nordvis Records

Laced with darkly captivating melodies, ominous timbres, icy atmospherics, and a striking ability to imbue each track with a unique depth and texture, Stilla’s 2013 debut, Till Stilla Filla (Ed: reviewed here), was and remains an endlessly intriguing piece of work. A hard act to follow, Stilla return less than one year later with album number two, Ensamhetens Andar, an album that  bears all of the traits of their debut and pushes deeper into their aesthetic for incredible results.

With slightly distorted guitars to introduce ‘Vandring Utan Spar’, the track blossoms into one that is as broad as it is impassioned. While the multi-layered guitars and keyboards bring an earnest feel to the track, it serves as a potent introduction to the band’s development since their debut. The title track, at eight minutes, is an epic journey, as of a solitary traveller traversing increasingly demanding terrains, facing its cold indifference and meeting all of its insurmountable challenges head on. From ‘Till Slutet’ through to closing track ‘Skuggornas Dop’, the band weave intricate web after web, the ever-shifting direction and shape-shifting nature of the album is as chaotic as it is deliberate. Throughout the album, the intensity level continues to rise as wave upon wave of emotion pour ever outward as the journey into the unfolding and eternally dark presence of absolute nothingness sharpens into focus.

Swedish speaker or not, this is an album that transcends any and all barriers and every penetrating moment of this album is meant to be felt, and deeply. Within the cavernous complexities of Ensamhetens Andar lies an experience that must be explored and endured to its bleak and devastating end. Richly complex, this album makes many demands, the response to which brings many a reward.

booklet9 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Vandring Utan Spar
  2. Ensamhetens Andar
  3. Till Slutet
  4. Själavrängaren
  5. Hjärta Av Sten
  6. Tillägnan
  7. Skuggornas Dop