Saturday, February 14, 2015

Solefald - World Metal.Kosmopolis Sud

Norway's Solefald is pretty well known in the metal world. Their brand of avant-garde blackish metal seems to part of the so called "post-black metal' era but I find them to have much more in common with Arcturus than with Deafheaven. Formed in 1995 by Cornelius Jakhelln and Lars Are Nedlund the latter is also well known to be one of the most recognizable voices in the extreme metal world being the backing vocals in Borknagar since 1999 and also provided the clean vocals for what I consider to be the best folk metal album ever made...Asmegin's Hin vordende Sod & Sø. So now with their eighth full length album, World Metal.Kosmopolis Sud, Solefald seems to have reinvented themselves yet again.

This album is all over the place and seems to remind me more of Frank Zappa's early work and The Beatles Sgt. Pepper than a "metal" album. There's also hints of house and techno but with metal riffing and black metal elements thrown in. Lars' signature vocals are all over this album as well and what's even more cool is that his brother, Sindre Nedlund, who was a guest on Myrkgrav's Trollskau, skrømt og kølabrenning is part of this. He actually sounds so much like Lars that I actually thought the backing vocals were on that album Lars until finding out it was his brother. The opening song, "World Music with Black Edges" is exactly what the title implies. There are so many elements to this song that an exact description is virtually impossible. All I can say is that the song title says it all. "The Germanic Entity" is another song that has layers and layers of instrumentation and rhythms that it does remind me of Zappa's poly-rhythmic 70s era to the point that the vibraphone parts on this song made me think that Ruth Underwood was a guest for this one. "La Soliel" is another song that seems to be some twisted love child of Zappa and black metal. But there's also monstrous riffing on here as well as infectious melodies making this on of the coolest songs I've heard in quite some time.

Then you have a song like "Bububu Bad Beuys" that reminds me of everything from African tribal music to Rammstein. But once again, they managed to add some killer riffing into the song to add another dimension to the song. Then you have a slightly more straightforward song like "2011, or a Knight of the Fail," which is a song about Anders Breivik, the coward who committed terrorist acts in Norway, including opening fire on a youth camp in Oslo. This is one of the more "metal" songs on the album, along with "String The Bow of Sorrow" and is riff laden and angry. Given the subject matter, the music fits the atmosphere of the lyrics. The latter song is another great epic metal song that combines layers and layers of melody with aggressive metal riffing. Again, there is not much straightforward about any of these songs because there is just too many elements to them. "Oslo Meloncholy" rounds out the album and this is another song that lives up to it's name. Very eerie and atmospheric is never gets more off the ground that some eerie guitars and almost spoken vocals. A cool way to end an amazing album.

So what we have here is basically the Sgt. Pepper of metal. There is instrumentation from almost every music genre known ti man mixed with some killer metal riffing in places to create one of the most musically diverse albums released in a very long time. This was definitely not what I expected from this band, but it was a most pleasant surprise.


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