Solefald - In Harmonia Universali
Century Media
Avantgarde Post-Black Metal
10 songs (60'21")
Release year: 2003
Solefald, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex

Solefald is a two-man Norwegian team which aspires to transcend the boundaries of black metal and push the genre of metal overall to its very limit. Calling it avantgarde post-black metal and comparing it with the likes of Arcturus and Borknagar is appropriate (I am pretty sure that one of the members of Solefald also plays in Borknagar). Such two-man setup allows the most creative juices to flow freely. As Vintersorg showed on a few occasions results can be stunning. The problem is not to create a jambalaya, and not let those “juices” overferment.

When I first got In Harmonia Universali I only had a chance to listen to the opener Nutrisco et Extinguo first. Ethereal acoustic intro, harmonic guitars and multi-layer gothic singing grabbed me from the start. Keyboards play a prominent role on this track (as they always do with Solefald). On this track they are so in tune with guitars, however, it is one perfect harmony. A few doom chords are thrown in for good measure, but when ominous keyboards and fast kick drums merged with an incredible saxophone solo I was in seventh heaven. I put the CD aside slobbering in anticipation of the full listen. What I got the rest of the way should be called Carnival Bizarre. Solefald did well in creating an atmosphere of peculiarity and weirdness, but it simply did not work for me.

The following description fits well most of In Harmonia Universali. Keyboard drenched mixture of thin drums (drum-machine?), no bottom end whatsoever, loosely connected non-coherent parts of dissonant distorted guitars and pompous organs. The vocals are a mixture of atrociously nasal no range gothic singing and voice processed semi-brutal cackling that reminded me of raven’s cry. About the only place (except the opener) this gothic moaning fits was The Liberation of Destiny. Periodically, the music shifts into more traditional blastbeat driven black metal (Epictetus & Irreversibility) where the “dark” side kicks the hell out of gothic stuffiness and randomly popping piano parts.

Some songs got more clearly spelled out ideas. Christiania starts with the sermon style chanting vocals and monotonous organ that lasts for over 2 min. The song commemorates Edvard Munch, Norwegian printer known for his anguished paintings and obsession with love, death and loneliness. Distorted tango of largely instrumental Red Music Diabolos is interesting. Dark saxophone and whispers create an atmosphere of French chanson. Spanish motives of Fraternite De La Grande Lumiere lack only castanets to be even more convincing.

In the end, though, too much of everything mixed together make an indigestible brew. Mont Blane Providence Crow, Dionisify This Night of Spring, Epictetus & Irreversibility, Buy My Sperm (what a horrible vocal choice to bring to life such controversial lyrics), Sonnenuntergang im Weltraum make me push a “skip” button. Reading Solefald lyrics is intriguing, but tell me who on Earth can understand a mixture of English, German, French, and possibly Latin.

The feeling I had in the end that Solefald targets an intellectual, open-minded, but pretentious audience, most likely, themselves. Those who will understand each note of Solefald music will probably enjoy it and call me a primitive. Not being an advocate of “straight-line” metal myself, Solefald is a little over the top for me and, I am afraid, many others.

Killing Songs :
Nutrisco et Extinguo, Red Music Diabolos, The Liberation of Destiny
Alex quoted 58 / 100
Other albums by Solefald that we have reviewed:
Solefald - World Metal – Kosmopolis Sud reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Solefald - Norrøn Livskunst reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
Solefald - Neonism reviewed by Goat and quoted 93 / 100
Solefald - The Linear Scaffold reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Solefald - Black For Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Pt. II reviewed by Andrew and quoted 74 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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