The dynamic duo behind Solefald are Lars A. Nedland and Cornelius Jakhelln. Both are accomplished musicians in their own right. Nedland was involved with Age Of Silence and Winds, and is still an active member of Borknagar. His musical partner in crime is active in Sturmgeist, but he’s also a renowned poet and writer in Norway. Over the years they used Solefald for their own experiments with black metal, culminating in albums such as Neonism (1999), Pills Against The Ageless Ills (2001) and their tribute to Icelandic Viking sagas in the form of Red For Fire (2005) and Black For Death (2006). Now Solefald are back with their brand new album, entitled Norrøn Livskunst.
After revisiting the Viking past on Red For Fire and Black For Death, Nedland and Jakhelln settled for Norwegian literature dating back to the early 1900’s for lyrical inspiration. Musically speaking Norrøn Livskunst is more in line with the eclectic approach of Pills Against The Ageless Ills and In Harmonia Universalis. This is only meant as an indication, because the new album features enough twists and turns to be a unique and stunningly original entity in its own right.
On Norrøn Livskunst there are flirtations with jazz (Vitets Vidd I Verdi, Eukalyptstreet), rockabilly (Stridsljod/Blackabilly), while Tittentattenteksti, Raudedauden and Hugferdi are more in line with the band’s black metal past, yet at the same time wonderfully spiced with the trademark Solefald eclectic avant-garde madness. Compositions such as Song Till Stormen and Til Heimen Yver Have are more contemplative and melancholic in nature, while the folky character of Waves Over Valhalla is more in line with their two previous albums.
Despite all the diverse musical adventures Norrøn Livskunst is a wonderfully cohesive unit, a tribute to the considerable writing and musical skills of Nedland and Jakhelln. Their musical open mindedness shines through on this album. Another fine addition are the guest vocals by Agnete Kjölsrud (Djerv). Her hysterics add another layer of avant-garde madness on the aforementioned Tittentattenteksti and Vitets Vidd I Verdi. The warm and organic production gives Norrøn Livskunst the edge it needs.
Norrøn Livskunst by Solefald is by no means an easy album to get into. It takes several intense sessions before the musical essence is revealed. It’s certainly worth the effort though, because this is post black metal/avant-garde metal at its very best.
written by Raymond Westland