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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 June 2013
Sigur Ros are not mega mega famous, but those in the music industry know all about them and have done so for many years now.

Their fans are a loyal bunch and i place myself in that group, and over the years since i first heard Von played on vinyl i have been mesmerised by their sound.

So naturally Kveikur was a hotly anticipated album, even moreso with the departure of Kjartan and Sigur Ros teasing their fans with new songs on their current European and American tour, giving us unforgettable performances of Brennisteinn, Hrafnatinna, Kveikur and the sublime Yfirborð, the latter of which was the opener to the tour.

This new album is darker than anything they ever did, though Von still trumps all of them in the scary stakes, but Kveikur is so much more different. See, Sigur Ros have now grown up, and their sound has evolved to reflect this change, which seems a natural progression after the stillness of Valtari, or the poppy energy from Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust.

But for fans of sigur ros, new and old, this album will NOT dissapoint, yes it is more aggressive in places, more industrial sounding, even sexy in places, but its still very much a classic Sigur Ros, or will be eventually.

I wont give a track by track account of this album but i will point out the highlights, the biggest being how each song flows naturally to the next giving the listener yet another musical journey into the netherworld of Sigur Ros's collective hive mind, the first 4 songs from the album have been heard many times even before the release of the album, Bren, hraf and Yfirborð have been playded throughout their recent live shows, and Isjaki was released recently on the Sigur Ros website, so the first new song we properly hear is Stormur. Upon hearing Stormur we begin to realize that Sigur Ros may have saved the best til last, however there is nothing wrong with the first four songs, they are stunning but already familiar.

Stormur however, wow, typical sigur ros epicness, Stormur sounds like it came from the album Takk, which i know is a firm fan favourite and every album since has been compared to Takk, rightly or wrongly.

Rafstraumur did not dissapoint either, neither does Bláþráður or Var.

As usual, Jonsi and his band of merry men have produced a masterpiece of musical wonderment, an album which will stand the test of time. Kveikur firmly places this band at the top of the tree now, and despite their success they still remain as grounded and as inventive and creative as they ever have been.

That said, this album is a different beast which should excite all who happen to come across it, be them fans of sigur ros, die hard fans of sigur ros, or those who have heard Hippopola and want to hear more. This is still Sigur Ros, of course it is!

Crucially, this album takes you away for a while, and brings you back gently as breathtakingly beautiful instrumental track Var plays out quietly. Kveikur is a damn fine album, many highlights, and some vivid memories for those lucky enough to catch them on their recent tour, myself included. I do have a minor confession to make, i have been listening to the album on the live stream on the sigur ros website, so i was quite familiar with it already even before it came out.

It seems the majority of twitter agree with me, #kveikur is throwing up non stop praise from those fans who are listening to this new album, calling it awesome, mindblowing, out of this world... Its all this and more. For those fans who have not heard their new material yet, your in for a treat, this will blow you away.

Thank you Jonsi, Georg and Orri, and all those who play a part in making this stunning work of art. My ears are a happier place for yur music.
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2013
All Sigur Rós's music is a soundtrack to the Icelandic landscape. Their new album, Kveikur, does the volcanoes. The record opens with the thunderous bass line of Brennisteinn ('Brimstone'), a pyroclastic flow of a song: a percussive, aggressive statement of intent. The pace, intensity and sheer loudness of this opener is sustained throughout the album. It's a real change of direction for the band, and unquestionably a positive one.

The cover art suggests a dark, heavy album; and it is, in places. The title track is particularly powerful, combining anguished vocals and discordant violins and screeching feedback to chilling effect. But it's not all like that. As with previous Sigur Rós albums, there's a balance between light and dark, day and night, hope and despair. The counterpoint to Kveikur is Ísjaki ('Iceberg'): one of the most uplifting songs the band has ever written.

I've seen a number of critics describe Kveikur as a 'return to form', but I don't buy that: it requires that at some point the band lost its form. The truth is that Sigur Rós has never produced a bad album. Even last year's sombre Valtari makes sense in hindsight, now we can see it for what it was: an elegant and understated way of tying up loose ends, winding up the band's time as a four-piece and its record deal with EMI. Less than twelve months on, Sigur Rós has returned one member down, but with a new label, a new sound and a new sense of purpose.
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Now seperated from instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson, the trio that is Sigur Ros take an entirely different route with album 7 : the same, but different. No one else could make a record like this, but built on a foundation of guitar, bass, and drums, an integral part of the band, the keyboard/piano/strings that made the band matter and gave them the key dynamism, the drama, that made Sigur Ros so distinctive. With "Kveikur" the band have taken everything they used to have, and gone left with it : no longer airy, silent earscapes, but tense, dramatic, noise, built on crescendos of drums, bass, guitar/violin, and Jonsi's well known, abstract voice-as-melody work which somehow makes this the same, yet different, the same Sigur Ros ; in an artistic watershed, think of this as the same moment as the departure of Alan Wilder from Depeche Mode, where a key architect's influence falls away, and the band is the same, yet not the same. Songs such as "Brennisteinn", "Var" and "Kveikur" are familiar, having been in the live sets for several months, but at the time, felt incongrouous, as if they didn't quite fit, with the band now a rhythmic, coiled snake, reminiscent of the same kind of drama that filled stadiums for The Cure and Depeche Mode two decades ago. But also, here is a kind of music that is the soundtrack for thinking, for gazing out on a platform waiting to go home, for the absent minded meditation of washing up and reading. You might be forgiven for thinking it was all downhill after the fragmentation of the core quarter after 15 years together, but no. "Kveikur" is a promise of a continued future in the same, unqiue world, that Sigur Ros have always lived in. You are welcome to visit.
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on 28 January 2014
I couldn't say I have ever been a huge Sigur Ros fan, but I am familiar with their more well known work such as Svefn-g-englar, Hoppipolla & Njosnavelin (listen to them if you're unfamiliar with them!!), so this album probably was a bit of a toe in the water for me. But I was absolutely blown away by all of it & I fell in love with the album straight away (not something I am prone to do) & there is so much which is so good, particularly Brennisteinn, Ísjaki & Kveikur, simple but great drum beats, some really strange sounds that really fit & it has all the quality of just letting you drift off.

So how good is it really from someone who was a not really a fan? Well, I bought all their other albums based on this one, I am so pleased to have found something so very unique from a band who have been around for years & I have become a fan. Just buy it, you wont be disappointed.
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on 8 January 2014
As an occasional listener of Sigur Ros rather than a fan, I do like this album as it has an edge that separates it from their earlier offerings in a way which adds even more to their style. It is certainly worth a listen. I purchased the Vinyl version and can promise that in conjunction with a pretty decent turntable and equipment, Sigur Ros sound great.
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on 10 July 2013
Sigur Rós have always been creators of large expansive soundscapes. Their albums are places to explore, discovering new Icelandic islets and inlets with each listen. Kveikur though seems a much more immediate listen, especially the excellent opener Brennisteinn which is more distorted and dark than I was expecting, the title track is a belter too. I think Kveikur is a step forward for the band and I find my appetite is whetted for coming albums.

Now, I always like to leave readers with a recommendation of a little gem they might not otherwise find. If you're a fan of Sigur Rós then you have to listen to a band called Takeda, trust me;)
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on 5 July 2014
Hmm, I like their music but this is not what I was expecting as should have done a little more research. I am now told that their first album is thought of as their best so I will now buy that. Great Icelandic band though with atmospheric music.
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on 29 September 2013
It's getting harder and harder to find increasing superlatives to describe their music. Every review I'm using words such as beautiful, classic, stunning, breathtaking, magical, fantastical ... now here we are once again and yet once again, those words are the ones I choose to describe them and their music. I just never tire of their music. I'm sure they've been blessed with sprite magic or something because with each tune they continue to grow. I must admit to a huge level of pride though. Being an Icelander makes one very happy knowing our tiny island is having this effect on the world.
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on 13 October 2013
I've got nothing against ambient music. From Eno on, various cds have captivated me over the years. However, after the work of stunning genius that was Agaetis Byrjun, a piece of music that was so rhythmic, melodic and emotionally charged that for a good six months I listened to little else, their follow-up cds disappointed. () was ok. Takk, to these ears, a little better. But after that, they kind of lost me, with Valtari's noodly somnabulism making it my least favourite Sigur Ros album.

Kveikur is, for me, a blistering return to form. The crashing opener, Brennisteinn, and title track, Kveikur, are masterpieces of layered sound that build and build. And if there is a more beautiful song than Hrafntinna around this year, I haven't heard it. From a simple verse, it develops into an anthemic swirl of wonderfully harmonizing voices and instrumentation that makes my heart leap every time I hear it building up to its euphoric climax.

I saw Sigur Ros headlining at this year's End of the Road festival on a cold clear night beneath the stars. I've been going to see live music for decades, and this performance was one of the most sensational I have ever witnessed. Not everyone liked them. Friends I was with wandered off after a couple of songs. Gradually the crowd consisted only of those who 'got it'. By the end of the set, there was laughter, tears and odd displays of strangers hugging one another. And each time I listen to Kveikur it evokes the atmosphere of that gig. I am totally in awe of this astounding group and, in particular, their latest album. Absolutely stunning.
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on 17 June 2013
Well well .... you have to hand it to them, yet again they have pulled it off. This band never fail to surprise me, they consistently exceed all expectations with everything they release.

Sigur Ros are an amazing band. Having built their fan base on beautiful heaven like delicately crafted tunes to then turn to the dark side is ridiculously brave. Well done Jonsi, Geog & Orri.

Sigur Ros are the only band to produced music that have reduced me to tears (in a good way), so I'm really taken back by how incredible I found this new direction. Gone with the heart string tugging emotional soundtrack to unmade melancholic movies and replaced with a fresh new super sonic assault (with a slight dash of old to address the heavy toned balance).

I've been a fan of Sigur Ros since day one and have seen them seamlessly evolve over the years. Sigur Ros have produced the soundtrack to the previous 15 years of my life and I always get nervous when they release something new. Last years, some say timid Valtari divided onion but for me was a very worthy edition to the now Icelandic trio's stunning back catalogue. Now just 12 months later, Kveikur confidently explodes out of nowhere, kicking, screaming and shouts aloud that Sigur Ros are back, better than ever and crikey have they discovered attitude! If Valtari was Enya then Kveikur is Metallica.

When Kjartan Sveinsson exited the band last year to try something different, fans got worried, me too, but fear not, the trio have made something truly remarkably special here. You could argue that Sveinsson brought the classical element to the band. Kveikur has no classic elements to it. Maybe that's their point. A new line up comes with it a new approach.

(Having said that I really do hope that Sveinsson rejoin's them again at some point)

If you like Sigur Ros, chances are you have already read a track by track review about how industrial, loud, beautiful and otherworldly it all sounds. So I wont bore you. I can never describe music by Sigur Ros elegantly enough anyway. If you like Sigur Ros, get this album. Kveikur is epic, flawless and astonishing.

Sigur Ros really are something to cherish. I usually feel envy over people who have not yet experience them, I only wish I could hear them again for the first time like I did back in the late 90's and remembering how my musical taste changed after listening to just one album and all their albums since. No 'post rock' band will ever touch them. In fact no other band will match their brilliance, elegance, grace and continued impeccable quality.

Kveikur is staggeringly good.
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