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
Norway's Solefald is the collective genius and combined talents of Cornelius [vocals, guitar, bass and samples] and Lazare [vocals, synthesizers, Hammond organ, grand piano and drums and also a member of Borknagar].
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.
Describing Solefald to the uninitiated is a bit like attempting to describe colour to the visually impaired. And their new [and fourth] album In Harmonia Universali isn't about to help explanations any easier.
The acoustic introduction to 'Nutrisco Et Extinguo' last for a mere twenty seconds before Solefald jumps into their unique version of melodic death metal. The vocals are certainly captivating in their unusual use, while the piano accompaniment is made all the more predominate beside the harsh guitar sound. The saxophone that appears midway through and towards the end makes the track all the more unconventional, yet mesmerising. 'Mont Blanc Providence Crow' and 'Christiania [Edvard Munch Commemoration]' are both epic sonic sound scapes that feature a male choir and the unique Solefald off kilter harmonies and vocal passages. Traditional and melodic death metal is in part incorporated into 'Epictetus & Irreversibility' and 'Dionysify This Night Of Spring' [which also features the choir and saxophone], while the accessible 'Buy My Sperm' is surprisingly catchy. The French sung 'Fraternité De La Grande Lumière' is as experimental as a Solefald album can get, while the German sung closer Sonnenuntergang Im Weltraum' moves from a slow dirge one moment, to creepy carnival sounding keyboards the next!
In Harmonia Universali is epic in both in vision and to listen to. Although the experimental is taken a step further than their previous album, it certainly doesn't overstep the mark like Neonism did. Solefald have created, once again, something that defies the standard genre tag placed on most bands.
|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.
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