Solefald - _Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey Part 1_
(Season of Mist, 2005)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (6 out of 10)
There has always been some strange inconsistency with everything Solefald has done. While obviously talented and aiming for a unique and ultimately varied sound, this Norwegian duo has somehow completely failed at being outstanding time after time. Take _Neonism_ for one. Promising, to say the least, yet poorly arranged and way too chaotic to cause the expected jaw-dropping effect. _Red for Fire_ is only the beginning of their new "Odyssey". This time the winds take them northwards, back to the poetic narratives of the Icelandic sagas. Don't expect axe-swinging Viking metal or poppy Liv Kristine love stories though; expect Solefald, and beware.

Album opener "Sun I Call" kicks off as a flowing Jan Garbarek tune and develops into a glorious hymn-like six-minute stunner. But just when you thought were going from good to great in Solefald's camp comes "Survival of the Outlaw", with annoying vocal rasp and guitar chugging intertwined with spectacularly out-of-tune vocals and a melody here and there. What's worse, it goes on like that for one more track, then swings back into an already worn out blend of post-black metal, melodramatic singing, violins in the background and _Streets_-era Savatage rock opera atmosphere.

What _Red for Fire_ lacks, like all its predecessors, is -- and I'll dare say it once more -- consistency. Granted, it sounds interesting; but then again, it sounds like a whole lot of patches sewn together. As you may have already guessed, the end is perplexing as hell: after the stunningly long and fairly good "Crater of the Valkyries" and "Sun I Called", you get treated to the relaxing sound of splashing waves and an old Norseman telling his tale in Norwegian (or is that Icelandic?) for five and a half minutes. Go figure.

(article published 7/11/2005)

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10/19/2001 P Azevedo 8 Solefald - Pills Against the Ageless Ills
10/12/1999 P Azevedo 6 Solefald - Neonism
3/10/1998 P Azevedo 9 Solefald - The Linear Scaffold
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