Norrønasongen - Kosmopolis Nord (EP)

Written by: EW on 16/11/2014 17:55:28

As one of the most avant-garde of metal bands I have yet heard I fully expected to be in for a diverse treat when signing up to review the "Norrønasongen - Kosmopolis Nord" EP from Norwegian duo Solefald. While I can claim only partial awareness of their 7-album back catalogue it was the band’s quasi-bizarre London performance last year that really lingers in the memory as one of the most memorable I have encountered from any band, ever. Infact that was only Cornelius Jakhelin with a backing band but that rare live showing of theirs only touched on the edges of what a Solefald album really is and in "Norrønasongen - Kosmopolis Nord" this form continues, with avenues of music explored alien to my primary listening habits, and as a reader of, I suspect perhaps yours too.

These five songs fill a span of 37 minutes and thus I have been treating it more as an album in my pre-listening than an EP. "Norrønaprogen" opens with a motif that essentially serves as the backbone to the release, given it’s altered airing in the shorter piece "Norskdom" and "Norrøna" later on, one formed as a quaint, stark reverberating guitar pattern and violin backing before the first transition in this 11-minute piece is enough to suggest an overall cleaner feel to the release. The deep vocal tones quickly break into a more upbeat cadence where a triple layering of clean vocals ride a crest of organ-like keyboard sounds in a stretch of the song that sounds as if it were scripted with metal amplification in mind. After a mid-way pause and a temporary transformation into soft jazz form a further switch back to earlier pacing sees out the song through the heaviest moments of the whole EP where the hammering of the drums is tempered by the distortion-less guitars and a period of rather delightful yin/yang vocal ‘harmonies’ from Jakhelin and his partner-in-crime, Lazare Nedland.

Diversification is evident in "Det Siste Landskap (An Icelandic Odyssey Part Iv)" with an electronic drum sound intermingling with a soft brass rhythm section in a stern, tranquil piece before the concluding two tracks, which are a collaborative effort with Sturmgeist & The Fall Of Rome elaborately close the EP. "Norrøna: Ljodet Som Ljoma" gradually delivers sample drum tones as the 11-minute track delves through a militaristic vibe not unlike the well-known Luxembourg act Rome although repeated listens have led to none of this track lingering in the memory, unlike closer "Songen: Vargen" which comes without the martial vibe of the preceding track and instead deals in slow violin patterns and contrasting plainly sung vocal lines which cause the release to end on a slow, peaceful note of accomplishment. Much like my experiences with past Solefald albums, this is a bit of a hit-and-miss affair with some features being considerably more enjoyable than others; however the willingness to experiment and challenge is very much to be applauded and they remain a band I would definitely go see live again.

Download: Norrønaprogen, Norskdom
For The Fans Of: Arcturus, Rome, Borknagar
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.10.2014
Indie Recordings

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