Solefald - In Harmonia Universali review
|Album:||In Harmonia Universali|
01. Nutrisco Et Extingo
02. Mont Blanc Providence Crew
03. Christiania (Edvard Munch Commemoration)
04. Epictetus & Irreversibility
05. Dionysify The Night Of The Spring
06. Red Music Diabolos
07. Buy My Sperm
08. Fraternité de la Grande Lumière
09. The Liberation Of Destiny
10. Sonnenuntergang Im Weltraum
After the very lackluster "Pills against the Ageless Ills", I didn't really have much hope for Solefald. Not because that one was a bad album, but rather because it seemed to be a bit rushed and simple in the musical department. Too streamlined, if you will (Cornelius' pennery was top-notch, though). This album, on the other hand, served as a reminder of why I fell in love with Solefald when "Neonism" came out. That album was a veritable catalog of musical schizophrenia, right up there with "La Masquerade Infernale" and "Department of Apocalyptic Affairs": Cornelius' fierce shrieking was juxtaposed against drum n' bass loops, semi-jazz guitar noodlings, Lazare's choral chants, and plain good old-school METAL. "In Harmonia Universali" was described as a more cohesive version of "Neonism", and while that could be true, I'd rather define it as the unlikely offspring that Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Emperor would spawn. Except for Ihsahn's horrid singing, of course. Perhaps the best song to exemplify this approach would be "Christania", whose lyrics honor the great Norsk painter Eduard Munch. After a great choral opening we get a brief Hammond interlude which immediately goes back and forth to pure black metal riffery, with chorus vocals provided by three guest vocalists! Way more progressive than, say, Vanden Plas or garbage like that.
The one thing that sticks out in this album, in my opinion, is the vocal counterpoints between Lazare and Cornelius. The latter has opted to substitute the True BM hollering he did in the previous three albums with a vocal style that's kinda similar to the great Mr. Doctor of Devil Doll. Or perhaps Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman. And he never caves in to the temptation, no matter how much the music might demand it ("Liberation of Destiny"). Lazare, on the other hand, sticks to the melodic choral crooning he's been known for (also pay attention to his work on the last Asmegin album!). The moment he starts singing on "Mont Blanc Providence Crow" (the "single" of the album, if you will) is simply magical, one of those absolute spine-chilling moments. Lyrically, Cornelius has taken his writing to an entirely different plane: gone (mostly) are the pop-cultural references included in the previous two albums. They've been replaced by grandiose-sounding poems, which sometimes sound as if he were preaching to his audience (see "Fraternité de la Grande Lumiere" for an example). Furthermore, there's lyrics in English, French, German, Norwegian, and Latin!! Elsewhere, we get the lovely, sort of Arcturus-esque instrumental "Red Music Diabolos"; the tense calm of "Buy My Sperm"; the hyperactive juggernaut that is "Dionisify This Night of Spring"; and a HELL of an album closer in "Sonnenuntergang im Weltraum".
Bar none, THE progressive metal album of 2003. Get this, and throw your Symphony X CDs in the trash.
|Norway's Solefald is the collective genius and combined talents of Cornelius and Lazare .
The bands avant-garde tendencies were clearly stated when their debut The Linear Scaffold was released in 1997. The album was hailed for it's unconventional experimental take on music, and proved that they weren't about to follow the legions of melodic death metal acts that emerged at the time. Their second album, Neonism, was released two years later, and while not as well received, still managed to establish the band on a broader scale. 2001's Pills Against The Ageless Ills was a stripped back, more streamlined affair that saw the band revert back to a sound more akin to their debut.
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