Solefald - Neonism review


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Band: Solefald
Album: Neonism
Release date: September 1999

01. Fluorescent (The Total Orchestra)
02. Speed Increased To Scaffold
03. CK II Chanel No. 6
04. Proprietors Of Red
05. A Motion Picture
06. Omnipolis
07. Backpaka Baba
08. Third Person Plural
09. 04.34 PM
10. The New Timelessness
11. Cosmophony [2007 re-release bonus]

This one is pure genius...or pure madness!
An outstanding works of art, a new guideline for avantgarde, a milestone of creativity...or just the work of two mad musicians!

Where "The Linear Scaffold" (by far their best work to date, in my humble opinion) gave to the listener the feeling of a well structured avantgarde black-gothic journey, Neonism goes beyond. The schemes are crushed into little meaningless pieces and the listener may easily lose the meaning of the whole opus.

Let's go with some order. The record starts with 2 of the heaviest tracks that sound like the "expected" evolution of what we heard on The Linear Scaffold. These two tracks disappointed me a bit, for the lack of originality: they gave me the feeling of a band trying to repeat their previous great work. Now, 8 years after I bought the CD, I often skip these two. They are both good, though, but just too similar to what we heard on the previous release. It's from the 3rd track, CK II Chanel N6, that the real journey starts; this song has some sort of catchy pop theme mixed with heavy metal and noisy guitar, harsh black metal-like singing together with clean vocals, sung or declaimed. Indeed it's quite hard to describe the mood of this song to someone who never listened to Solefald's first works. But it's only the beginning of the trip (maybe this is really the best word to describe it). From now on each song has its own history, its own sound and meaning in the record.

I'm not here to bore you with a track-by-track like review but I just have to take the focus on the great originality of each song: there are no two songs that sound similar but they all fit well in the same CD as different parts of the same journey. "Backpacka Baba," with its reggae-like inserts and up-tempos, "Third Person Plural" with its very heavy riffing and its weird stops and breaks, together with the very melodic and melancholic "04.34 Pm" (piano, keyboards and voice) are probably my own highlights; I guess each listener could find his own favorites, due to the variety of sounds and solutions of each song.

This is a record to explore and discover listening after listening; a record that requires an open mind, some taste for avantgarde (yes, it's still avantgarde after 8 years....and The Linear Scaffold, too), and some time to spend on it, because at the first listening you could find this just odd and pointless. But definitely it's not!

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 7

Written by pdepmcp | 11.10.2007


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 28 users
10.10.2009 - 09:56
Liver Failure
I guess each listener could find his own favorites, due to the variety of sounds and solutions of each song.

Thats very true.. two of your personal highlights (Blackpapa Baba and 4.34 PM) are two of the worse songs to me. And ''Speed Increased to Scaffold'' is one of my favorites.

This is an album hard to get into, even thou the songs are often catchy and easy to listen, the chaos of the composition is sometimes annoying to me. ''Cosmophony'' is simplier than the other, a very good song,''CK Channel Number 6'' is also less chaotic for being shorter than most.

But overall this album is awesome, and a good listen from time to time. :-)

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/

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