Every time I start a review about an artist from Iceland, it always starts the same way: there's no music like anything that comes that amazing country. Whether's its atmospheric rock or synthpop, everything from Iceland has a distinct ethereal nature to it. That's no different when things get classical. You can find peace in Valgeir Sigurðsson's Dissonance, its endless textures creating vivid imagery.
There are three parts to Dissonance. The first arc is the first track 'Dissonance.' The twenty-two minute track starts dark and ominous, its guttural anger painting a barren landscape covered in ice. The track progresses slowly but smoothly, allowing itself to develop and really go through the emotions before its big conclusion, where the darkness becomes brighter. It ends in a sort of positive chaos, like you're sitting in a warm cabin by a fireplace as the fire slowly spreads out and consumes everything. From the cold oblivion to the bombastic, flaming ending, this symphony truly tells a story.
The next part is the 'No Nights Dark Enough' four-piece symphony. It's a beautifully dynamic piece, transitioning from a mostly calming and ethereal peace to something more and more angry and afraid. There's something in the chaotic distortion of 'Fear and Grief and Pain' that really illicits a sense of uncertainty, despite its mostly endearing melodies. Closing trio '1875' has more of a dreaminess to it, opening number 'Waterborne' having an almost Disney-esque intro to it. The following numbers a bit more of an explanation, with 'In The Dead Of Winter' and 'Displaced' being empty. They feel like you're walking into a snowstorm, or are watching someone do so as they slowly get lost in the blinding snow. It's a symphony about being lost and being okay with that.
Valgeir Sigurðsson created true peace in Dissonance. It's not easy to make an album so full of emotion but so empty at the same time. It's another album that really embodies Iceland, it's swallowing nature being the same that you can only dream of. This record is an unforgettable experience, and even if the pieces don't function on their own, as a whole, it's one big, epic movement.
Favorite Track: Dissonance
Least Favorite Track: Infamy Sings
Rating: 74 / 100
Buy or listen to Dissonance here: