Solefald-2006-Black For Death (An Icelandic Odyssey Part II) (Size: 158.20 MB) (Files: 20)
Solefald-2006-Black For Death (An Icelandic Odyssey Part II)
Solefald-11-Lokasenna Part 3.mp3
Solefald-10-Dark Waves Dying (Instrumental).mp3
Solefald-09-Spoken to the End of all (Poem).mp3
Solefald-08-Loki Trickster God.mp3
Solefald-07-Lokasenna Part 2.mp3
Solefald-01-Red For Fire + Black For Death.mp3
Solefald-2005-Red For Fire-(An Icelandic Odyssey Part I)
Solefald-09-Sea I Called.mp3
Solefald-08-Crater of the Valkyries.mp3
Solefald-07-Prayer of a Son (Poem).mp3
Solefald-06-There is Need.mp3
Solefald-03-Where Birds Have Never Been.mp3
Solefald-02-Survival of the Outlaw.mp3
Solefald-01-Sun I Call.mp3
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[size=5]An Icelandic Odyssey[/size]
[size=3]Part I: Red For Fire (2005) (160 kpb/s)[/size]
My only prior experience with Norway’s Solefald was 2001’s Pills Against the Ageless Ills, which though I enjoyed, never impressed me enough to look into In Harmonia Universali due to their over quirkiness. However, when I heard Solefald’s two part epic Red For Fire and Black For Death was going to be based on the epic Iceland poem An Icelandic Odyssey, I decided to give them another chance.
I’m glad I did. Whereas Arcturus’s newest slab of metallic quirkiness was a bit disappointing (thought mainly due to the excellence of The Sham Mirrors), the duo of Lazare (who also has served in Borknagar, Asmegin and Age of Silence) and Cornelius has delivered a stunning album that manages to combine the band’s unconventional black metal stylings with Viking austerity and grandiosity. The most fitting term I came up with was ‘eccentric Nordic majesty.’
Initially I’ll admit, when opener “Sun I Call” sauntered out of my headphones like a Vegas lounge tune, I said to myself, “There’s no saxophones is Viking mythology”, but accepting such a musical tangent is part of enjoying Solefald’s music and thusly the tracks serves as a fitting’ mood building introduction the following Nordic kaleidoscope of sound. After the opening tracks graceful climax, “Survival of the Outlaw”, and “Where Birds Have Been” lumber into view with a horn heavy, angular, almost death metal lean that is ominous and grandiose. This early in the album, its obvious that Lazare has one of the most unique voices in metal comparable to Garm (Ulver, Borknagar) and ICS Vortex (Borknagar, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus), and should, could (should) easily slide into either Arcturus’s or Borknagar’s vocal gig should they become available. These earthy second and third tracks also show a deeper, more focused sense of metal rather than obsessive theatricals.
After the instrumental “Bragi”, the albums centerpiece “White Frost Queen” is a hypnotic, female vocal laced ballad of sorts that seems to capture the bleak but beautiful Iceland vista musically, but is abruptly interrupted by the stern death metal gait of “There is Need” with its epic mid section. I was actually pretty surprised with this albums level of pure ‘metal’, as often Solefald actually deliver some pretty heavy moments, even if littered with their trademark operatics. However, the later part Red in Fire is far more ‘challenging’ and less metal with the spoken word “Prayer of a Son”, the sprawling “Crater of the Valkryies” and album closer “Lokasenna; a 6 minute reading of a Eddic poem. But they all drip with an authentic sense of pagan pride, despite the artistic ventures Solefald injects into their music.
Red For Fire is lushly produced allowing the plethora of guest instrumentalists and vocalists to seep through Solefald’s own innate creativity. Of course, Red For Fire comes with a warning tag due to its pretty non traditional take on metal and progressive tendencies that comes across like Enslaved meeting Arcturus at a Viking attire only poetry reading. But in my books that’s a pretty exclusive and brilliant club.
[size=3]Part II: Black For Death (2006) (320 kpb/s) [/size]
Though I often think I have the testicular fortitude to review anything thrown at me, the eclectic nature of Solefald, and their fervent fans, especially when undertaking such a monumental task as a two part epic based on Norse mythology, proves tough to dissect. Pussy quaking aside at such a daunting task, it’s obvious that the duo of Lazarus and Cornelius are two of the most convention defying musicians around and have arguably picked up the mantle dropped by Arcturus on The Sideshow Symphonies.
As with Red For Fire, Black For Death is an experimental, progressive sort of black-ish metal with a Viking lean, due to the subject matter, but makes no qualms about delivering unexpected elements within the framework of a Norse concept. For example, as with Red For Fire, the saxophone again appears on Black For Death (“Underworld”, “Dark Waves Dying”), again rendering the track as a sort of Viking Vegas lounge number, but somehow works. Also, the use of grizzled spoken word for the Eddic poem again returns for “Lokasenna part 2 and 3".
However, when such quirky elements are backed by Lazare’s still unique voice as well as the band’s grasp of challenging, unpredictable, yet satisfying and lushly produced metal such as stunning opener “Red For Fire;Black For Death”, a sort of two album, concept uniting central number, the hypnotic “Silver Dwarf”, “Queen In the Bay of Smoke” (this album’s “White Frost Queen”), the epic “Allfathers” as well as the terribly catchy trot of personal favorite “Necrodyssey”.
The much hyped appearance of Garm (Ulver, Borknagar, Arcturus, etc) is a little disappointing for “Trickster God Loki” a whimsical rather non-metal track, that seems to cement Garm has left his metal days long behind him. However, closing number “Sagateller” wraps up the album and the entire odyssey with a fitting reprise and stirringly epic closure.
I will be very interested how Solefald follow up this rather grand duo. Do they continue their Nordic storytelling or return to their more unconventional themes that seem to fit their music? Either way, I’m sure it will be more experimental brilliance.
So long as Lazare delivers another Asmegin album soon.