First Watch: Solstafir, 'Miðaftann' In a new video, Solstafir's somber and haunting song about wandering in darkness is set against the stark landscape of Iceland.
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Iceland's Solstafir Seeks Salvation In Sublimely Shot 'Miðaftann'

The sweeping beauty of Solstafir's music comes from a place of pain and restoration, but it wasn't always that way. With 2014's Ótta, the Icelandic black-metal band fully and gracefully transitioned to atmospheric rock. One of the album's best songs, "Miðaftann," sounds somber and haunting without guitars or drums — just piano, strings, a little Rhodes and Aðalbjörn Tryggvason's desperate vocals, sung in his native tongue.

"The song is about wandering in darkness," Tryggvason writes, "playing chess with Death, getting burned by salt, drowning in the ultimate wave of sin and returning back home by using moonlight as navigation."

Harri Haataja and Vesa Ranta direct this gorgeous video, which they shot mostly in black and white amid the stark, sublime landscape of Iceland. They say they were inspired by the lyrics to show a man at his end, literally waving a white flag as he seeks salvation.

"They told us a real-life story about a sailor who lost his crew at sea and was stranded to shore as the only survivor," the directors write. "He proceeded to find his way to town and [along the way] he found a barrel filled with water. But the water was frozen, so he had to punch through the ice with his bare hands to fight the dehydration. Eventually, after a long journey, he found his way to town and survived."

Ótta is out now on Season Of Mist.

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