Distributor/label: Indie Recordings, Oslo
Released: Nov 2014
Buy Album [URL]: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Norronasongen-Kosmopolis-Nord-Solefald/dp/B00NMXE6C0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416426343&sr=8-1&keywords=solefald
Band Website: http://www.solefald.no/
Lazare Nedland – Voice, keys, drums
Cornelius Jakhelln – Voice, guitar, bass
Det Siste Landskap (An Icelandic Odessey part IV)
Norrona: Ljodet Som Ljoma (Solefald v Strumgeist & the Fall of Rome)
Sangen:Vargen (Solefald v Strumgeist & the Fall of Rome)
I like a challenge, it is good for the mind to stretch its boundaries and to experience new things. So when I discovered this whole album is in Norwegian I relished the opportunity to try to review music that I could not understand a word of the lyrics. I actually enjoy music that is in other languages, I find it relaxing to focus on the music not the lyrics at times, with a number of albums in my collection in foreign tongues, Irish, Spanish, Italian and even Africans.
I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics of these songs refer to, though I am sure they tell some wonderful Norse legends and fantastical adventures, in the typical Viking storytelling style, and I am sure it would enchant me with the tale, could I understand it. However, not understanding lyrics allows you to focus on the feelings the music creates, the sounds and the passions, without meaning getting in the way.
The first offering Norronaprogen is a 12 minute opus, with a mix of styles, conveying different parts of the song, to begin a low and deep male voice that is calming, that then mixes with a higher, almost feminine vocal, which is more urgent and creates a feeling of anxiety, the music is a rich texture, almost classical in nature, it paints a picture through sound, as the deeper, sadder style weaves in and out. Norwegian is a harsh sounding language, similar to German, not like the softer lyrical Spanish, French or Italian, it is strange to hear. The second song, Det Siste Landskap has the same symphonic style and mix of vocals.
The higher vocal is pleasant to the ear, it has melody and sweetness, but the deeper vocal is discordant and abrasive on the ear. There are strange sounds in the music on this track, it makes you feel a little uneasy and certainly not relaxed. Part’s I, II & III appear on Solefald’s earlier albums. Norskdom is a very short piece, feels very Gregorian chant with a lamenting strain of violin, with only the deep powerful vocals.
Norrona: Ljodet Som Ljoma is another epic song, with both vocal styles, it has weird electronic interference underneath the doom-laden music and it gives a feeling of foreboding and dread. Lastly, Sangen:Vargen, with the same details in brackets as the previous song, so I suspect it is following on, part two perhaps. It is not quite as threatening as the last song, there are still strange electronic sounds underneath the music but it is more uplifting and positive feeling.
Solefald are very aventguard & experimental in their approach to symphonic metal, this will not appeal to many in the UK but I can see them having a cult status in Norway. They plan on releasing a further album in 2015, Norrønasongen. Kosmopolis Sud, I can at least work out that this one is North and the next one is South.
Their first release was back in 1995, and though they have completed a number of albums, they are not known for their live performances, having only toured in 1998 and then not played live again until 2012, since which they have made 20 live appearances. The band name means Sunset and was taken from the title of a painting by Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen.
It is strange listening to songs in Norwegian, but it is interesting and it did make me want to learn Norwegian so I could find out what lovely things they are singing about for next time.
Review by Lisa Nash