"Me eig dykk, og me meiner ålvor/ Me kann få dykk i tale med motorsagi" ("We own you, and we mean business / We can make you talk with our chainsaw") the song "Eukalyptustreet" from the new SOLEFALD album, "Norrøn Livskunst" ("Norse Art Of Living") proudly exclaims. For the Oslo/Berlin-based avant/black eggheadbanging duo it has always been clear that false modesty means no fun; the band's track record does not only contain the promo-prostitute-claim that they are the only band in metal with good taste (demonstrated through song titles such as "Buy My Sperm" and "The USA Don't Exist"), but also a desire to play "true norwegian black metal" with saxophone, Hammond organ, prog riffs, poetry reading, electronic beats, screaming and yawning vocals as well as vocal harmonies in the vein of SIMON & GARFUNKEL. For those who did not know: It's not all fun and games when two stubborn goats pretend to be a band.
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."
SOLEFALD has, since its inception in 1995, been somewhat of a secret reserved for lovers of progressive and hard music. The Icelandic odyssey "Red for Fire + Black for Death" (for which the band was nominated to an Norwegian Alarm Award in 2006) saw the contribution of vocalists Kristoffer G. Rygg (ULVER) and Aggie Frost Peterson. As their seventh studio album, "Norrøn Livskunst", summarizes SOLEFALD's career with lyrical presence and epic substance. Agnete Kjølsrud (DJERV, ex-ANIMAL ALPHA) graces the song "Tittentattenteksti" with wonderfully hysterical vocals, while Vangelis Labrakis (MENCEA) gives SOLEFALD their first real guitar solo on "Raudedauden". To top it all off, Endre Kirkesola has mixed the album with nearly a ton of electronics of obscure origins.
The SOLEFALD crew are strange animals in the black metal flock. None of the members have been to prison — yet. Cornelius (Jakhelln, also active as STURMGEIST) is an author — in 2007 he won Bonnier Cappelens Great Nordic Novel Competition. Since then he has published a children's book, a collection of poetry and the crime novel "Voguesville", where the alcoholic herring gull King investigates a satanic freemason murder. The song "Blackabilly / Stridsljod" on "Norrøn Livskunst" is dedicated to King and his blackabilly band CHILIHEAD. In October Jakhelln will release the poetry collection "Trisyn" through the Norwegian publishing house Samlaget. This collection will be thematically and linguistically linked to "Norrøn Livskunst", as both the poetry collection and the album are written in an archaic form of Norwegian, called høgnorsk, Olav H. Hauge's romantic poem "Song Til Stormen" included.
"There are many connections between SOLEFALD's lyrics and the books that I write," stated Cornelius Jakhelln. "Take the novel 'The Fall Of The Gods', for instance — it contains the saga of the icelandic skald Bragi, from the SOLEFALD albums 'Red for Fire and Black for Death'. The 'Nutrisco et Exstinguo' lyric off the 'In Harmonia Universali' album, on the other hand, is a poem from my first book 'Gebura Muse'.
"Poetry has always been essential to SOLEFALD — we have rendered the Eddic poem 'Lokasenna' in music, along with poems by Lord Byron, Torild Wardenær and Olav H. Hauge.
"The lyrics on 'Norrøn Livskunst' are written in a 'høgnorsk' style approaching the Norse — the sound ought to cut like a knife!"
Almost ten years ago, Lazare (Lars A. Nedland, also active in BORKNAGAR) acted in Norway's first televised parody on black metal, "Barron Blod" ("Baron Blood"). As the drummer Gravstein (Tombstone) in the band BÖH! (BOO!), Lazare helped the comedian Otto Jespersen seduce an entire country into adoring "true norwegian black metal." The distance from BÖH! to SOLEFALD is shorter than you may expect, considering the lyrics of "Necrodyssey": "The black art's dead can't you feel the foul smell / Ten years ago the corpses gave us hell / Now the scene's changed we're still around / The vampires lie six feet deep into the ground." In civilian life, Lazare directs television productions such as "Krimkommisjonen" and "Skaperen" for channels like TVNorge and TV2. He also wrote and directed the Norwegian Emmy Awards equivalent.
"SOLEFALD has always had a free relation to genre aesthetics and conventions, which has given us a lot of fun, a death threat, and eight albums we're proud of," stated Lars "Lazare" Nedland. "While we take our music very seriously, we have always had the ability to take two steps back to see both ourselves and the genre from the outside. This has given room for satire and a healthy dose of self-irony. Moreover, it has made our genre-juggling smoother and more seamless over the years. 'Norrøn Livskunst' shows a band that has been through many a musical experiment and all kinds of genre-stretching exercises. It's black metal and rock, eighties pop and jungle, seriousness and humor in perfect union, even if the base is still the (black) metal, we started off with as a band."
After roaming the world on labels such as Avantgarde Music, Century Media and Season of Mist, SOLEFALD has finally come home and signed a deal with Norwegian Indie Recordings. The band is releasing their first album in four years, and tension is running high.
* Lazare - Vocals, synth, electronic beats, drums and percussion
* Cornelius - Vocals, guitar and bass
Due on November 15 via Indie Recordings, "Norrøn Livskunst" features the following track listing:
01. Song Til Stormen
02. Norrøn Livskunst
04. Stridsljod, (Blackabilly)
07. Vitets Vidd I Verdi
09. Waves Over Vallhalla (An Icelandic Odyssey Part 3)
10. Til Heimen Yver Havet
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