Frederik Thordendal's Special Defects - _Sol Niger Within_
(UAE, 1997)
by: Brian Meloon (9 out of 10)
This was about what I was hoping it would be: a very unique, heavy, technical, and strange disc. For those of you who don't know, Thordendal is the lead guitarist from Meshuggah. He wrote, produced, engineered, played bass, guitar, synths, and sang on this album. The remainder of the instruments were played by guest musicians, including Mats Oberg (synth, church organ) and Morgan Agren (drums). Most of the vocals are shouted and distorted, sounding very industrial, but there are some spoken and screamed parts as well. The music is a mix of industrial, Meshuggah-like metal, and jazz fusion, and it changes frequently. As usual, Thordendal comes up with some nice polyrhythmic ideas, but he beats them to death at times, making it a little tedious. The disc contains only one forty-three minute song, which is indexed into 29 pieces so that you can skip ahead in the track (if your CD player has that feature). The first half of the album flows very well, with virtually no real breaks in the music, but the second half seems to lose focus and direction, and seems almost thrown together at times. In particular, the two church organ pieces, the 4+ minute "Cosmic Vagina Dentata Organ" and "Magickal Theatre .33." (which reminds me of the guy from Cradle of Filth playing with winter gloves on) seem out of place and unnecessary. Another unfortunate thing about this disc is that while the style is original in a metal format, Thordendal's guitar solos at times (e.g. "Z1-Reticuli") sound way too much like Allan Holdsworth. In all, I think this is an excellent album, breaking new ground in the metal genre, and highly recommended to those with an adventurous spirit. An edited version of this album, featuring the most metallic parts and lasting for about six minutes, is scheduled for release on Nuclear Blast.

(article published 17/11/1997)

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