Solefald – Norrønasongen Kosmopolis


Norrønasongen Kosmopolis proves to be a fine album in a style only tangentially related to metal, but fails to rise to the point of making me want to listen to it again. Folk music can be comforting, sometimes interesting, but is usually known for being participatory, that is a group of people around a campfire singing as part of a ritual.

Solefald come to us from the entertainment fringe of folk, which here is a combination between the bands that play in the background at a Renaissance Faire and the kind of music that might be used in a low budget Romantic comedy to establish that the characters are indeed in Norway. Norrønasongen Kosmopolis features songs composed in layers, such that the band sets up a repeating pattern and then other instruments layer within that while vocals between male and female trade off, chanting lyrics of apparently great lutefisk significance.

Then it breaks into this with dinner theater style dramatic breaks where other vocalists join in abrupt transition to another pattern, like the scene has changed or perhaps the lyrics have referenced something terrifying, like a moose roaming free in the local churchyard. All of it is well-executed, with pleasant flutes and string instruments, and the vocals are elegant, but the artistic intention behind this is confused. It tries to organize itself around vocal events which do not work without visual cues, and it specializes in the kind of sing-song rhythms that work best with a “Little Vikings” playset or uncritical audience at the aforementioned Renaissance Faire. When metal guitars intrude, it is as a background instrument that makes the mix louder without adding much of musical note, which makes the vocals even louder.

At the local pub, these songs would be more fun to sing if their parts fit together in a method that allowed people to remember them and have fun experimenting within that known framework. Instead, we get a serial sequence of repetitive frameworks which change randomly for reasons unrelated to the music. That probably qualifies as “progressive” in the dissolved metal scene of today, but in reality, it is the kind of drama that attracts pretentious people looking for something mentally easy to digest. The result guarantees tedium for those who dare notice, and comfortable but random background music for the rest.

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5 thoughts on “Solefald – Norrønasongen Kosmopolis

  1. Shit 666 says:

    I heard an older album by them. Sounded like new wave.

    1. Richard Head says:

      I would actually rather listen to new wave than this album.

      Cory’s reviews are sadistic, all right, but the readers are the masochists in this case.

      1. Phil says:

        Stop whining, Cory’s reviews are great.

        You just had a chance to say something worthwhile and you used it to vainly mince about.

        1. Richard Head says:

          No whining allowed on a music site? El oh el. Actually you’re right, Cory does write great reviews, but the last several bands that have been featured sling more shlong than your little sister.

    2. Smoking_Gnu says:

      That was probably Pills Against the Ageless Ills. Check out Neonism for the band at its best.

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