Solefald is a Norwegian avant-garde metal/black metal band that was formed by members Lars Are “Lazare” Nedland and Cornelius Jakhelln in August 1995, with Lars singing and playing keyboard/synthesizer/piano and drums, and Cornelius singing and playing guitar and bass. The meaning of the band’s name is best explained in an interview from Century Media Records website. Lazare states “Solefald is an old Norse word for sunset. We ‘stole’ it from a painting by the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen. His two paintings ‘Soleglad’ and ‘Solefald’ portrays the cycle of being, and we found it to be a very fitting idea for our band.” Cornelius also states “‘Solefald’ means literally ‘the fall of the sun’, or just ‘sunset’; the way we spell it is Danish, from the 19th century.”
Their first official rehearsal together was in 1995 with the song “When The Moon Is On The Wave.” They released their first, 5 song demo, entitled Jernlov (translated to Iron Law in English), in 1996. Jernlov was the band’s most traditional black metal release, but the band had an experimental edge, incorporating Lazare’s clean vocals and piano passages into the black metal formula. They were one of the first bands in the black metal genre to incorporate new elements into the style, including a bag pipe passage in one song.
The band was signed by the Milanese record label, Avantgarde Music, in 1996. In July 1997, the band released a follow-up to their demo. This first full-length release was called, The Linear Scaffold. The album was an expansion of the style on the demo. The album had a better recording quality, and contained 8 songs, two of which had previously been on the demo, but were now re-written and re-recorded. The band incorporated sounds and techniques that had never been heard in black metal before, using hand claps along with choruses in the song “Philosophical Revolt”, jazzy clean guitar passages, and shrieked vocals over piano pieces. The album also featured vocals in English and Norwegian. When this album was released, the band coined the term “Red Music With Black Edges” to define themselves.
In 1998 the band began to adventure out of the studio and onto their first and only tour. The band toured through Europe supporting symphonic metal band Haggard with gothic metal band Tristania. Being a two-piece band, they employed the use of John Erik Jacobsen (aka Didrik von PanzerDanzer) on second guitar, who recently toured with, then joined, Cornelius’ new band Sturmgeist. Drummer Tarald Lie and ex-Dimmu Borgir member Jens-Petter Sandvik on the bass completed Solefald’s live line-up. A press statement released in July 2012 announced Solefald’s return to the stage for 2 festival dates, first on 15 September 2012 at the Southern Discomfort festival in Kristiansand, Norway and the second at the 2013 Inferno Festival in Oslo. Session instrumental support for both concerts will be handled by Norwegian death metal band, In Vain.
Starting in 1998 the two members started branching out into other musical endeavours, with Lazare performing the drums for the album Black Shining Leather by the Norwegian black metal band Carpathian Forest. Later, in July 1999, Cornelius did guest vocals for the gothic metal band Monumentum for the songs “Black And Violet”, a cover of the Italian band Death SS, and “The Colour of Compassion”. These recordings were released in 2004 on the Monumentum compilation album, Metastasi.
In 1999, the band released their second full-length, entitled Neonism on 24 September. The album incorporated black metal, pop, classical music, punk, and progressive metal. The album also featured more vocal techniques from each member. Singing in English and French, Lazare brought back his clean vocals, but also introduced a new style, in the form of hollering. Cornelius still used his high pitched wails and shrieks and his lower grunting, but he also introduced a style of spoken word singing. The lyrics were unconventional for metal in general and black metal especially, dealing with socio-political issues and pop culture criticism. The album received mixed reviews, with some criticizing it for being too adventurous. The band even received a death threat from the USA from someone that considered the album an abomination to black metal. Others knocked it for its thin recording quality. The band stated that they used this quality because of the multi-layered song structures demanding a thinner sound to allow the many facets of the music to shine through. Another reasoning was that they wanted to use the recording style at the famed Sunlight Studios to achieve the “old school black metal” sound. The album’s recording was also plagued with problems, including a mixing board that literally started burning. The band coined the term “Radical Designer Rock ‘n’ Roll”, for this release.
Following this album, the Solefald camp grew quiet for a little while. Lazare joined progressive black metal band Borknagar as keyboard player and back-up vocalist. In 2000, Borknagar released their first release with Lazare playing with them, Quintessence.
In 2001, Solefald came together to release their third full-length. The new album, entitled Pills Against The Ageless Ills, was a concept album based on a fictitious tale written by Cornelius. Musically, Pills is more straightforward than Neonism. The album features more prominent guitar, with the keys acting as an accent and background instrument much of the time. Whereas Neonism consisted of songs that would each have a variety of styles and genres within them, Pills has a variety of different style songs, each focusing individually on a certain style. Vocally, the band had made yet another change. Maintaining Lazare’s style and getting rid of his hollering style singing, and keeping Cornelius’ lower black metal grunting, “Pills” saw the addition of a less high pitched black metal shriek from Cornelius, as well as Cornelius’ most common style of singing to date. This new vocal style is a throaty sounding form of vocals, similar to some gothic rock bands. This album, released on 19 September 2001, was Solefald’s first album released through the German record label Century Media.
A diverse album
The next Solefald endeavour came in 2003 with the full-length album In Harmonia Universali, released on 24 March 2003. The album contained 10 songs, with each song’s lyrics devoted to various artists, philosophers, and deities. The lyrics are also sung in four languages on this album, English, Norwegian, French, and German. They incorporated a Steinway grand piano, a male choir, authentic Spanish classical acoustic guitar, violin, and saxophone. The music was layered, consisting of composite riffs and leads from the guitars and hammond keyboard sections. Vocally this found Cornelius eschewing his black metal vocal approach, sticking strictly with this throaty spoken word performance. Lazare’s vocals stayed primarily the same. This was their last album released on Century Media.
In 2003 Lazare continued expanding his involvement in other bands with his inclusion as clean singer into the viking/folk/black band Ásmegin. In 2004 he joined the avant-garde metal band Age Of Silence as singer and main lyricist, which includes members such as Andy Winter from the band Winds, and Hellhammer from such bands as Arcturus, Mayhem, Winds, and many more. Age Of Silence released a new three song EP entitled Complications – Trilogy Of Intricacy on October 11, 2005 as a lead into their approaching second full-length. Lars has continued to do guest vocal work, being featured on the Winds album, Prominence and Demise, the Pantheon I album The Wanderer And His Shadow and the Havoc Unit album h.IV+ (Hoarse Industrial Viremia). He is also still with Borknagar, who released Universal in 2010.
In early 2005, Cornelius released the first full-length album Meister Mephisto, through Season of Mist from his solo band, Sturmgeist, an experimental black/thrash metal band with industrial overtones. Lazare contributed back-up vocals on this release, along with vocalist Fuchs of Weimar’s Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. Following shortly after the release of Black For Death, Cornelius and Lazare continue to release more music from other projects. Cornelius released his second and third Sturmgeist albums entitled Über and Manifesto Futurista respectively. He also recorded an experimental electronica/metal album under the band name G.U.T. entitled My Only Drug Is Madness. He is also writing the libretto for a contemporary opera telling a story from the pagan times of the North.
Later in the year 2005, the band travelled to Iceland, with funding from Tekstforfatterfondet, to write their next album. Originally planning to release one new album, the group wound up writing so much new material, they decided they would release two new albums. This two part saga is the story written by Cornelius about Bragi, a Skald in Iceland. It was announced on 28 March that the band and Season of Mist had parted ways.
In January 2008, a Solefald remix album, entitled The Circular Drain was released through Cornelius Jakhelln’s independent label, Von Jackhelln Inhuman, signed and limited to 1,000 copies. It features remixes by Havoc Unit, James Fogarty project “The Bombs of Enduring Freedom”, Zweizz, and others. In addition to these remixes, the CD also contains the entire Jernlov demo, marking the first time it has appeared on a digital medium.
The band went on to sign with Norwegian label Indie Recordings. They released their 7th full-length, entitled Norrøn Livskunst (“The Norse art of Life”) on 15 November 2010. The album features guest vocals by Agnete Kjølsrud (ex-Animal Alpha, Djerv) who was also featured the album Abrahadabra released by Dimmu Borgir in 2010 as well. It also marks Solefald’s first guitar solo, brought in by the guest guitarist Vangelis Labrakis of the band, Mencea. The album marked the first time the band recorded an album with nearly entirely Norwegian lyrics. In a press release it was stated that “The lyrics on ‘Norrøn livskunst’ are written in a ‘høgnorsk’ style approaching the Norse — the sound ought to cut like a knife!”
Other than music
Aside from music, Lazare is a newscaster for TVNorge, and Cornelius is an accomplished writer/poet, with many published writings including a tetralogy of poems entitled Quadra Natura.
World Metal: Kosmopolis Sud / 2015
1. World music with black edges
2. The germanic entity
3. Bububu bad beuys
4. Future universal histories
5. Le soleil
6. 2011. Or a knight of sorrow
7. String the bow of sorrow
8. Oslo melancholy
Norrønasongen: Kosmopolis Nord / 2014
2. Det Siste Landskap
4. Norrøna: Ljodet Som Ljoma
5. Songen: Vargen
Norrøn Livskunst / 2010
1. Song til stormen (Song to the storm)
2. Norrøn livskunst (Norse Art of Life)
4. Blackabilly / Stridsljod (Blackabilly / Battle sound)
5. Eukalypstustreet (The Eucalyptus Tree)
6. Raudedauden (The Red Death)
7. Vitets vidd i verdi (The Reach of Awareness in the World)
8. Hugferdi (The Journey of the Mind)
9. Waves over Valhalla (An Icelandic Odyssey Part 3)
10. Til heimen yver havet (To the Home Over the Ocean)
Norrøn livskunst is the seventh studio album by Norwegian avant-garde black metal band Solefald and their first album released through Indie Recordings.
The press release for described the album as such:
With “Norrøn livskunst“, SOLEFALD looks to the early 1900-century Norway, when a young nation zealously engaged in exploring its cultural roots. Writers, painters and composers rediscovered Norse mythology, the Edda and the sagas. Houses and buildings were designed in the Norse “dragon style” and decorated with medieval motifs. Sports clubs were named after Norse deities, and Snorri Sturluson’s “Heimskringla” had a natural place in every home. Explorers went out to conquer the most inhospitable regions of the world. Some of that same madness is underlying in black metal: When others hunt for fame and fast money, leave it to the Norwegians to colonise frozen continents and old cemeteries. As Cornelius Jakhelln’s saga novel “The Fall Of The Gods” states: “They called it evil. They called it True Norwegian Black Metal.
The album marked some minor changes in vocal styles from both members. Cornelius employed the aggressive style he developed on the albums prior to An Icelandic Odyssey and with his side project Sturmgeist. He also introduced a deep, nearly spoken word vocal approach. Lazare’s vocal arrangements are some of the most dense and sophisticated he’s ever performed. The musical style covers a broad range, as is expected by now from Solefald. Aggressive extreme metal, heavily electronic passages and complex multilayered vocals. The album also features guest contributions in the forms of vocals, saxophone and guitar. The majority of the original lyrics with the exception of “Waves Over Valhalla” and a portion of “Stridsljod/Blackabilly” which are in English, are written in a 1917 variant of Norwegian called høgnorsk (high Norwegian), which is a conservative written language preceding today’s much more common nynorsk (Neo-Norwegian).
Black for Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Part II / 2006
1. Red for Fire + Black for Death
2. Queen in the Bay of Smoke
3. Silver Dwarf
4. Underworld (Instrumental)
7. Lokasenna Part 2
8. Loki Trickster God
9. Spoken to the End of All (Poem)
10. Dark Waves Dying (Instrumental)
11. Lokasenna Part 3
The music in the song “Loki Trickster God” is the same as in “White Frost Queen” from Red for Fire; however, “Loki Trickster God” is shorter, and the music is arranged differently in the second half of the song.
Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey Part I / 2005
1. Sun I Call
2. Survival of the Outlaw
3. Where Birds Have Never Been
4. Bragi (Instrumental)
5. White Frost Queen
6. There Is Need
7. Prayer of a Son (Poem)
8. Crater of the Valkyries
9. Sea I Called”
A two-part album
Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey Part I is a two-part concept album series by Norwegian avant-garde metal band Solefald. The first part, Red for Fire, was released on 18 October 2005, while the second part, Black for Death, was released on 24 November 2006. The band was quoted as saying “Solefald was experimenting when everybody was being true. Now that things are changing and that we’ve pushed the experiment quite far already, we wanted Red for Fire plus Black for Death to be our attempts at being ‘true’. This will be a true Nordic Viking metal album.”
Both albums could be considered a play on how Solefald describe their music, which is as “red music with black edges”.
In Harmonia Universali / 2003
1. Nutrisco et Extinguo
2. Mont Blanc Providence Crow
3. Christiania (Edvard Munch Commemoration)
4. Epictetus & Irreversibility
5. Dionysify This Night of Spring
6. Red Music Diabolos
7. Buy My Sperm
8. Fraternité de la Grande Lumière
9. The Liberation of Destiny
10. Sonnenuntergang im Weltraum
In Harmonia Universali is the fourth studio album by Norwegian avant-garde metal band Solefald. It was released on 24 March 2003, and their last record released under the Century Media label. The album features lyrics sung in four languages: English, Norwegian, French and German.
Cornelius, the band’s chief lyricist, stated on the band’s website that much of the lyrics have Satanic undertones, and that it wasn’t a coincidence; he believes that part of the formation of what metal is today is due to evil and the rhetorical figure of Satan, who in turn is praised on the song “Red Music Diabolos”, claiming, “our crazy music has to come from somewhere
In Harmonia Universali Concept
The album’s themes are based on various philosophers and deities, all of which have a single song based off them.
As taken from the album’s booklet:
“Ten songs, ten wheels of time
To be buried in the body,
Grave of the mind –
Chained to an infinite universe
Where night is the rule
Ten songs, ten pills
To make the known look unknown
And the ancient feel new –
Pills against the ageless ills
Ten songs, ten rites
To purify the spirit –
Demons talking hard
And demons talking soft:
First, Gebura, for justice
Second, Munin for knowledge
Third, Munch, for creativity
Fourth, Epictetus, for virtue
Then Dionysus, for pleasure
Sixth, Diabolos, for music
Seventh, the Virgin, for fertility
Eighty, the Prophet, for charity
Ninth, Odin, for protection
Last, for light, the sungod Apollon
Ten songs, ten stories of
Extreme music science –
Solefald proceed to play
In Harmonia Universali”
Pills Against the Ageless Ills / 2001
2. Pornographer Cain
3. Charge Of Total Affect
4. Hate Yourself
5. Fuck Talks
6. The Death of Father
7. The U. S. A. Don’t Exist
8. Anti-City Strategy
Pills Against the Ageless Ills is the third studio album by Norwegian avant-garde metal band Solefald. It was released on 19 September 2001, and is their first album under the Century Medialabel. It is a concept album following the story of two brothers – Philosopher Fuck and Pornographer Cain.
Much of the experimental concepts off their previous album, Neonism, was eschewed for a more straightforward, guitar-heavy metal approach, though still retaining quite a bit of the band’s now trademark experimental nature. The style ranges from extreme black metal to jazz arrangements to traditional rock and metal. Vocally, Lazare is again over-the-top with his clean voice, while Cornelius’ style can shoot from gravelly narration (a style used again on the In Harmonia Universali album) to black metal growls and screams. AllMusic described the album’s sound as “a blend of progressive black metal, art rock and punk elements. Kind of like early Cradle of Filth (minus the goth trappings) meets Angel Dust-era Faith No More, meets the Sex Pistols – if one can imagine such a combination actually working.
Pills Against the Ageless Ills Concept
Pornographer Cain (1951-1998) is an American citizen and producer of pornographic films. He was observed at the site of Kurt Cobain’s alleged suicide. Pornographer Cain is found guilty of Kurt Cobain’s murder. He is consequently electrocuted in the state of California in 1998. He is/was the brother of Philosopher Fuck (1943-1999), a former American citizen exiled in Europe, erring between various religious and mental institutions. Half monk and half performance artist, he gave his life to thinking. Exhaled from a French hospital bed in 1999.
Neonism / 1999
1. Fluorescent (The Total Orchestra)
2. Speed Increased to Scaffold
3. CK II Chanel N*6
4. Proprietors of Red
5. A Motion Picture
7. Backpacka Baba
8. Third Person Plural
9. 04.34 PM
10. The New Timelessness
Neonism is the second studio album by Norwegian avant-garde metal band Solefald. It was released on 7 December 1999, through Avantgarde Music.
The album takes its name from a synonym for the word “neologism”, which means a made-up word which enters everyday use. The album’s recording sessions were marred by a mixing console that caught fire.
On the sound of the album, band member Cornelius said, “The hard will be harder, the passion will be more passionate, the ecstatic more ecstatic.” The band wanted to utilise a “true black metal production” sound, having it recorded at Sunlight Studios (home to many reputed black metal acts in the mid 90s).
The album expands upon their debut The Linear Scaffold by bringing a concept to the unique sound. It is in theory a black metal album, but contains many sonic elements and themes the genre usually does not touch on. The vocals by Cornelius and Lazare are different on this album than the The Linear Scaffold. Lazare retains his clean singing and Cornelius continues his black metal screams/growls, some are delivered in a rap-like cadence. “Omnipolis” is sung in French. Some songs feature keyboards and electronic sounds unlike in other black metal songs. Indeed, the album was so far from traditional black metal, the band received a death threat.
Although there is some thematic continuity between songs, the album is not as strictly a concept album as some of the band’s later works. The lyrics to the album focus on consumerism and pop culture, which is a departure from many metal lyrics. American and European consumption seem to be targeted, as there are countless references to many brands and consumer icons throughout the record, including Naomi Campbell, The Marlboro Man, Coco Chanel, Calvin Klein, Disneyland, Prozac, Tom Cruise, Special Agent Dale Cooper, James Bond, Jurassic Park, VISA Cards, McDonald’s and Michael Jordan. There are also references to philosophers and thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche and Niccolò Machiavelli, as well as references to various religious allusions, such as Gaia, Noah, Sodoma, “Satanistan”, etc.
The Linear Scaffold / 1997
2. Philosophical Revolt
3. Red View
4. Floating Magenta
5. The Macho Vehicle
6. Countryside Bohemians
7. Tequila Sunrise
8. When the Moon Is on the Wave
The Linear Scaffold is the debut studio album by Norwegian avant-garde metal band Solefald. It was released in 1997, through Avantgarde Records.
The cover art features Odd Nerdrum’s 1986 painting Return of the Sun.
AllMusic chose the album as an “album pick” in their retrospective review. The album “showed right off the bat that they were a band with their own sound and vision.” The album was featured on Terrorizer’s “The Great Black Metal Albums Of All Time”, with a number 30. Reviewer James “Harry” Hinchliffe called it “a bold and wonderfully pretentious re-interpretation of BM, inspired as much by Sartre as Satan and careening dizzyingly between devastatingly concise black metal and poppy, blissed-out choruses.”
Jernlov / 1996
2. Philosophical Revolt
3. Sivilisasjonen slør / Ravnens fall
4. When the Moon Is on the Wave
Jernlov (translated to Iron Law in English) is Solefald‘s first demo album released in 1996. Jernlov was the band’s most traditional black metal release, but the band had an experimental edge, incorporating Lazare’s clean vocals and piano passages into the black metal formula. They were one of the first bands in the black metal genre to incorporate new elements into the style, including a bag pipe passage in one song.
REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
Is your pencil sharp? Do you like writing? Contact us and maybe you could become a part of Nordic Metal Team.