Solefald - _The Linear Scaffold_
(Avantgarde, 1997)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
After a well-worded overview of their musical philosophy, Solefald (Norwegian for "sunset") describe their own work as "red music with black edges" -- and, after listening to _The Linear Scaffold_ enough, that description proves to be quite adequate. "Weird" is perhaps an euphemistic description for some parts of this album; still, the whole of it manages to avoid sounding weird -- it all makes sense when put together as it changes from strangeness into brilliance. However, think not of Sigh's _Hail Horror Hail_, for things are -very- different here, not to mention much better. In fact, I'm not enthusiastic about musical weirdness just by itself, but _TLS_ is excellent, regardless of that. The album is comprised essentially of contrasts. Fast sections abound, their body composed more of keyboard than guitar sound, with vocals ranging from very blackened shrieks to deeper voices, clean vocals, and spoken parts. Between those faster sections, which are unusual on their own, Solefald include even more unusual passages, which, like I said, manage to sound in place in a surprisingly natural way. Considering the music contained here, 40 minutes is hardly enough for all that could have been done in this CD, but a -lot- has already happened after the first minute or two expires and, fortunately, every track in this record is highly worthy of its time. I must also mention the superb keyboard passages with both spoken vocals and ripping shrieks of anguish; the album ends with an extraordinary sequence of the latter kind in a remarkable combination of suffering and melody. In fact, the start and end of _TLS_, while extremely different, are two fine examples of the outstanding intensity Solefald reach in _The Linear Scaffold_.

(article published 10/3/1998)

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