Solefald

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Solefald
Origin Norway
Genres Avant-garde metal
Black metal
Post-metal
Years active 1995–present
Labels Indie Recordings
Season of Mist
Century Media
Avantgarde Music
Associated acts In Vain
Ásmegin
Age Of Silence
Böh
Borknagar
Carpathian Forest
Darling Divine
G.U.T.
Grail
Sturmgeist
Vintersorg
Winds
Website http://www.solefald.no
Members Cornelius Jakhelln
Lazare Nedland

Solefald is a Norwegian avant-garde metal/black metal band that was formed by members Lars Are "Lazare" Nedland and Cornelius Jakhelln in August 1995, with Lars singing and playing keyboard/synthesizer/piano and drums, and Cornelius singing and playing guitar and bass. The meaning of the band's name is best explained in an interview from Century Media Records website.[1] Lazare states "Solefald is an old Norse word for sunset. We 'stole' it from a painting by the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen. His two paintings 'Soleglad' and 'Solefald' portrays the cycle of being, and we found it to be a very fitting idea for our band." Cornelius also states "'Solefald' means literally 'the fall of the sun', or just 'sunset'; the way we spell it is Danish, from the 19th century."

Biography[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Their first official rehearsal together was in 1995 with the song "When The Moon Is On The Wave." They released their first, 5 song demo, entitled Jernlov (translated to Iron Law in English), in 1996. Jernlov was the band's most traditional black metal release, but the band had an experimental edge, incorporating Lazare's clean vocals and piano passages into the black metal formula. They were one of the first bands in the black metal genre to incorporate new elements into the style, including a bag pipe passage in one song.

Linear Scaffold[edit]

The band was signed by the Milanese record label, Avantgarde Music, in 1996. In July 1997, the band released a follow-up to their demo. This first full-length release was called, The Linear Scaffold. The album was an expansion of the style on the demo. The album had a better recording quality, and contained 8 songs, two of which had previously been on the demo, but were now re-written and re-recorded. The band incorporated sounds and techniques that had never been heard in black metal before, using hand claps along with choruses in the song "Philosophical Revolt", jazzy clean guitar passages, and shrieked vocals over piano pieces. The album also featured vocals in English and Norwegian including one song which was simply keyboard melody played along with Cornelius' Norwegian recitation of a poem he wrote ("Tequila Sunrise"). When this album was released, the band coined the term "Red Music With Black Edges" to define themselves.

Touring[edit]

In 1998 the band began to adventure out of the studio and onto their first and only tour. The band toured through Europe supporting symphonic metal band Haggard with gothic metal band Tristania. Being a two-piece band, they employed the use of John Erik Jacobsen (aka Didrik von PanzerDanzer) on second guitar, who recently toured with, then joined, Cornelius' new band Sturmgeist. Drummer Tarald Lie and ex-Dimmu Borgir member Jens-Petter Sandvik on the bass completed Solefald's live line-up. A press statement released in July 2012 announced Solefald's return to the stage for 2 festival dates, first on September 15th, 2012 at the Southern Discomfort festival in Kristiansand, Norway and the second at the 2013 Inferno Festival in Oslo. Session instrumental support for both concerts will be handled by Norwegian death metal band, In Vain.[2]

Expanding Individual Horizons[edit]

Starting in 1998 the two members started branching out into other musical endeavours, with Lazare performing the drums for the album Black Shining Leather by the Norwegian black metal band Carpathian Forest. Later, in July 1999, Cornelius did guest vocals for the gothic metal band Monumentum for the songs "Black And Violet", a cover of the Italian band Death SS, and "The Colour of Compassion". These recordings were released in 2004 on the Monumentum compilation album, Metastasi.

Neonism[edit]

In 1999, the band released their second full-length, entitled Neonism on September 24. The album incorporated black metal, pop, classical music, punk, and progressive metal. The album also featured more vocal techniques from each member. Singing in English and French, Lazare brought back his clean vocals, but also introduced a new style, in the form of hollering. Cornelius still used his high pitched wails and shrieks and his lower grunting, but he also introduced a style of spoken word singing. The lyrics were unconventional for metal in general and black metal especially, dealing with socio-political issues and pop culture criticism in songs like "Backpacka Baba" and "CK II Chanel no. 6". The album received mixed reviews, with some criticizing it for being too adventurous. The band even received a death threat from the USA from someone that considered the album an abomination to black metal. Others knocked it for its thin recording quality. The band stated that they used this quality because of the multi-layered song structures demanding a thinner sound to allow the many facets of the music to shine through. Another reasoning was that they wanted to use the recording style at the famed Sunlight Studios to achieve the "old school black metal" sound. The album's recording was also plagued with problems, including a mixing board that literally started burning. The band coined the term "Radical Designer Rock 'n' Roll", for this release.[3]

Lazare Joins Borknagar[edit]

Following this album, the Solefald camp grew quiet for a little while. Lazare joined progressive black metal band Borknagar as keyboard player and back-up vocalist. In 2000, Borknagar released their first release with Lazare playing with them, Quintessence.

Pills Against The Ageless Ills[edit]

In 2001, Solefald came together to release their third full-length. The new album, entitled Pills Against The Ageless Ills, was a concept album based on a fictitious tale written by Cornelius. It tells the story of two brothers, Pornographer Cain and Philosopher Fuck, and the days before their deaths. Cain, a pornography director, is found guilty of the murder of Kurt Cobain. Meanwhile, Fuck is exiled from the United States and dies in a hospital in Paris. Musically, Pills is more straightforward than Neonism. The album features more prominent guitar, with the keys acting as an accent and background instrument much of the time. Whereas Neonism consisted of songs that would each have a variety of styles and genres within them, Pills has a variety of different style songs, each focusing individually on a certain style. The song "Hyperhuman" opens the album with black metal. The song "Pornographer Cain" has much more of a heavy, hard rock feel to it, until it breaks into a speedy techno beat. The album continues along with various style shifts, ranging from black metal played in Solefald's particular style ("Charge Of Total Affect", "Hate Yourself"), to the punk rock songs similar to ones found on Neonism ("The U.S.A. Don't Exist"). Still holding to Solefald's signature though, there are signs of experimentation, including a drum and bass breakdown in "The U.S.A. Don't Exist", a grungy/Black Sabbath style guitar outro in "Fuck Talks", and a Surf rock/1960's style bridge in "Charge Of Total Affect". Vocally, the band had made yet another change. Maintaining Lazare's style and getting rid of his hollering style singing, and keeping Cornelius' lower black metal grunting, "Pills" saw the addition of a less high pitched black metal shriek from Cornelius, as well as Cornelius' most common style of singing to date. This new vocal style is a throaty sounding form of vocals, similar to some gothic rock bands. This album, released on September 19, 2001, was Solefald's first album released through the German record label Century Media.

In Harmonia Universali[edit]

The next Solefald endeavour came in 2003 with the full-length album In Harmonia Universali released March 24, 2003. The album contained 10 songs, with each song's lyrics devoted to various artists, philosophers, and deities. The lyrics are also sung in four languages on this album, English, Norwegian, French, and German. They incorporated a Steinway grand piano, a male choir, authentic Spanish classical acoustic guitar, violin, and saxophone. The music was layered, consisting of composite riffs and leads from the guitars and hammond keyboard sections. Vocally this found Cornelius eschewing his black metal vocal approach, sticking strictly with this throaty spoken word performance. Lazare's vocals stayed primarily the same. This was their last album released on Century Media.

Involvement In Other Bands[edit]

In 2003 Lazare continued expanding his involvement in other bands with his inclusion as clean singer into the viking/folk/black band Ásmegin. In 2004 he joined the avant-garde metal band Age Of Silence as singer and main lyricist, which includes members such as Andy Winter from the band Winds, and Hellhammer from such bands as Arcturus, Mayhem, Winds, and many more. Age Of Silence released a new three song EP entitled Complications - Trilogy Of Intricacy on October 11, 2005 as a lead into their approaching second full-length. Lars has continued to do guest vocal work, being featured on the Winds album, Prominence and Demise, the Pantheon I album The Wanderer And His Shadow and the Havoc Unit album h.IV+ (Hoarse Industrial Viremia). He is also still with Borknagar, who released Universal in 2010.

In early 2005, Cornelius released the first full-length album Meister Mephisto, through Season of Mist from his solo band, Sturmgeist, an experimental black/thrash metal band with industrial overtones. Lazare contributed back-up vocals on this release, along with vocalist Fuchs of Weimar's Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. Following shortly after the release of Black For Death, Cornelius and Lazare continue to release more music from other projects. Cornelius released his second and third Sturmgeist albums entitled Über and Manifesto Futurista respectively. He also recorded an experimental electronica/metal album under the band name G.U.T. entitled My Only Drug Is Madness. He is also writing the libretto for a contemporary opera telling a story from the pagan times of the North.

An Icelandic Odyssey: Red For Fire/Black For Death[edit]

Later in the year 2005, the band travelled to Iceland, with funding from Tekstforfatterfondet, to write their next album. Originally planning to release one new album, the group wound up writing so much new material, they decided they would release two new albums. In a quote from the band it was stated "Solefald was experimenting when everybody was being true. Now that things are changing and that we've pushed the experiment quite far already, we wanted "Red For Fire + Black For Death" to be our attempts at being true. This will be a true Nordic Viking Metal album." This two part saga is the story written by Cornelius about Bragi, a Skald in Iceland. Bragi is the king's court poet, until he sleeps with the queen. When this is discovered, the queen lies and claims that Bragi raped her. Bragi is then forced to flee Reykjavík, because he will be killed for what he had supposedly done.

Red For Fire[edit]

The first album from this two part saga was released on October 14, 2005, and was entitled Red For Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey Part 1. This album deals with Bragi's internal struggles with keeping control over his sanity, and his qualms with the gods as he fights to survive in the wilderness. The album featured the inclusion of a violin and cello handling most of Lazare's musical arrangements rather than a synthesizer, female vocals thanks to Aggie "Frost" Peterson, and jazzy saxophone playing.

Black For Death[edit]

The follow-up to Red For Fire, entitled Black For Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Part 2, was released through Season Of Mist on November 13, 2006. The album featured Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver on guest vocals. It was announced on March 28 on Solefald's official Myspace page that the band and Season of Mist had parted ways.[4]

Parting Ways with Season Of Mist[edit]

As is common with artists, Solefald decided to part ways with their label Season Of Mist. Cornelius issued the following statement on March 28, 2007:

I hereby inform our esteemed fanatici that Solefald have ended the collaboration with Season of Mist. Both parts emerge whole, healthy and happy from the split-up. Long-term Solefald connoisseurs will notice how a two-album dialectic seems to appear through our discography; two first albums with Avantgarde, third and fourth albums with Century Media, then the Icelandic Odyssey with Season of Mist. We have already entered discussion with another record label. Any interested labels out there can still get in touch, albeit fast.


Red for Fire + Black for Death


Cornelius

The Circular Drain[edit]

In January 2008, a Solefald remix album, entitled The Circular Drain was released through Cornelius Jakhelln's independent label, Von Jackhelln Inhuman, signed and limited to 1,000 copies. It features remixes by Havoc Unit, James Fogarty project "The Bombs of Enduring Freedom", Zweizz, and others. In addition to these remixes, the CD also contains the entire Jernlov demo, marking the first time it has appeared on a digital medium.

Norrøn livskunst[edit]

The band went on to sign with Norwegian label Indie Recordings. They released their 7th full-length, entitled Norrøn Livskunst ("The Norse art of Life") on November 15, 2010. The album features guest vocals by Agnete Kjølsrud (ex-Animal Alpha, Djerv) who was also featured the album Abrahadabra released by Dimmu Borgir in 2010 as well. It also marks Solefald's first guitar solo, brought in by the guest guitarist Vangelis Labrakis of the band, Mencea. The album marked the first time the band recorded an album with nearly entirely Norwegian lyrics. In a press release it was stated that "The lyrics on 'Norrøn livskunst' are written in a 'høgnorsk' style approaching the Norse — the sound ought to cut like a knife!"[5]

Not Just Musicians[edit]

Aside from music, Lazare is a newscaster for TVNorge, and Cornelius is an accomplished writer/poet, with many published writings including a tetralogy of poems entitled Quadra Natura. The fourth volume of this four-book collection, entitled Galderhug. Quadra Natura 1111 was published on September 16 of 2008. He has continued having a successful career as an author and was quoted in an interview stating "Being a writer is my job. And my music is... It’s like a "Nebenjob", as you would say in Germany. A passion."[6]

Discography[edit]

Demo albums
  • Jernlov (1995), Self-released
Studio albums
Compilation albums
  • The Circular Drain (2008), Von Jackhelln Inhuman

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

Current live members[edit]

  • Kjetil D. Pedersen (In Vain) - Guitars (2012-present)
  • Johnar Håland (In Vain) - Guitars (2012-present)
  • Sindre Nedland (In Vain, Funeral) - Keyboards, Synthetizers, Vocals (backing) (2012-present)
  • Alexander Lebowski Bøe (In Vain (live)) - Bass (2013-present)
  • Baard Kolstad (Borknagar, ICS Vortex, Ihsahn (live), In Vain (live)) - Drums (2013-present)

Former live/session members[edit]

  • John Erik Jacobsen a.k.a. Didrik von PanzerDanzer (Sturmgeist) - live second guitar - (1998)
  • Jens-Petter Sandvik - Live bass - (1998)
  • Tarald Lie - Live drums - (1998)
  • Silje Ulvevadet Dæhli - Violins on Pills - (2001)
  • Kjetil Selvik - Saxophone on In Harmonia and Red For Fire - (2003,2005)
  • Kristian Krüger, Kjetil Selvik, and Sigurd Høye - Choir on In Harmonia - (2003)
  • Aggie Frost Peterson - Vocals on Red For Fire - (2005)
  • Jörmundur Ingi - Spoken word on Red For Fire - (2005)
  • Sareeta (Ásmegin, Ram-Zet) - Violin on Red For Fire and Black For Death - (2005, 2006)
  • Live Julianne Kostøl - Cello on Red For Fire and Black For Death - (2005, 2006)
  • Kristoffer Rygg a.k.a. Garm a.k.a. Trickster G (Ulver, Head Control System, ex-Arcturus, ex-Borknagar) - Vocals on Black For Death - (2006)
  • Agnete Kjølsrud (ex-Animal Alpha, Djerv) - vocals on Norrøn Livskunst
  • Vangelis Labrakis - guitar on Norrøn Livskunst

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Official pages[edit]

Record labels[edit]

Solefald on music databases[edit]