Hmmm, this one is a toughie. What do you get when you mix two demented, sinister, Norwegian dudes, a mind altering drug, let's say...uhhh...Ketamine, immense creativity and a room full of studio gear? The answer? "Neonism". This album is a mixed bag of about every style and concept in extreme music. I'm not limiting this to Metal, although this is a Metal-album of the highest order. It is, dear readers, so much more. SOLEFALD's musical influences run the gamut from Metal, to Punk, to early '80's New Wave, to House and Trip-Hop, to just plain excellence.
To pin this band down to one style, is like trying to make a tornado do a figure eight. It's not gonna happen. The album starts out as a barrage of keyboards and blasting beats. You could call this Black Metal. It soon becomes evident that "Neonism" goes far beyond blast-beats and shrieking vocals. Though the Metal on this CD is cold, stark and frightening, it could easily be considered Black Metal. SOLEFALD is just too weird to be called anything, but, SOLEFALD.
The vocals in particular, just excel. They range from shrieks, growls and rasps to clean singing and almost mantra-like chanting. The lyrics are frequently repeated, but always in a different vocal style and tempo, making the songs take on a flowing, but unpredictable nature. The guitar work is composed of crushing riffs and twisted leads, offset by the keyboards and the mix of live and electronic beats. The sarcastic and wonderfully minimalistic lyrics are of a biting and cohesive socio-political nature. But not so serious that they start to get preachy. The personnel on this disc are made up of a guitarist/bassist and a vocalist/keyboard/drummer/programmer.
There is a lot of noise produced by these two guys. The cover art alone is the first indicator that this is a bizarre album. It must be approached with an open mind. As a matter of fact, I feel you must be slightly insane to truly appreciate the complexities and witticism this album conveys. I fortunately am insane enough to wholeheartedly recommend this band to anyone who wants a truly unique and disturbing foray into what Metal has to offer.
Standout tracks are "Backpacka Baba", "Third Person Plural" and "Speed Increased To Scaffold", but all tracks are good and hold their own twisted merits. A must hear, if you can handle it. I am actively seeking their first album, entitled "The Linear Scaffold", I will review it after I find it and recover from it's effects.
Guest Reviewer Chris