This is no real “new” album but a re-release of the fist SOLEFALD-Demo “Jernlov” from 1996 as well as a compilation of several artists contributing their versions of SOLEFALD-songs from over a decade. Due to the nature of this enterprise (different artists, styles and so on) I’ll take on this CD step by step.
Being lucky to own the original tape, I was already familiar with the two songs that did not make their way to “The Linear Scaffold”. Yet you can hear the trademarks that would later be used on aforementioned album: SOLEFALD’s weird harmonies, the quiet interludiums (either clean guitars or synths, on “Sivilisasjonens Slør – Ravnens Fall” you have even a bagpipe) in exchange with screeching Black Metal. And then there is, of course, Cornelius’ unmistakeable vocal work which was great even back then. The only difference is that everything seems to have been remastered; the drums are more clear and louder and everything else is better audible as well. Oh, and “When The Moon Is On The Wave” contains an audio error, some kind of suction noise at 3:41 which has not been there on the tape.
The Circular Drain (in order of appearance, a review drawn in sketches):
Exorcise – Red For Fire + Black For Death
A dark beginning. A cold, repetive soundscape, erupting into a beat-inferno; cold, mechanical, impelling. An inhuman, factory-like void, focusing on the darker side of SOLEFALD and one of my favourite tracks.
The Bombs Of Enduring Freedom – Survival Of The Outlaw
The driving (nearly jungle) beats of this track continue on the debris the last track has left behind. A wild rollercoaster-ride through the same factory, with the occasional samples of Cornelius’ screams. A short pause with the clean singing part, and on we are again when THE BOMBS OF ENDURING FREEDOM throw us off the coaster suddenly and without warning. Another favourite of mine.
Dj:!!j Lazare: Fluorescent (The Total Orchestra)
Just in time to be picked up by DJ:!!J LAZARE, which is – you probably guessed – Lazare himself. One of the weaker tracks, starts with some kind of “gangsta’s paradise” SOLEFALD-style and continues even worse with a kind of house-hymn and “Yeah, yeah” shouting. Not my cup of tea, although the track gets better to the end.
Havoc Unit: Sun I Call
The renamed …AND OCEANS are behind this, and with an adequate and calm conversion of the intro of the Icelandic Saga. Accompanied by slow beats and the one or the other synth-intermission, this track does more than justice to the mood of the original version; HAVOC UNIT take their time and don’t try to push it too far too fast. Very good job.
The Extreme Zweizz Fuckover: There Is Need
Sorry but this is not for me. This is just noise. And I mean noise. No music, only soundscapes of brrrrm and wwwwwth and eeeeeek and woooooosh and btbtbtbtbtbtbtb… This might be art, this might be crap. I am not to judge it. I just don’t like it.
Half Sherman : CK II Chanel no 6
“Survival of the fittes”, jungle-like. A new atmosphere, a new more friendly approach to a strange and dark song. Yet not very much stays besides the the fact that HALF SHERMAN like to experiment with beats while focusing on one melody. Okay with me, but not very impressing.
Red Sector A: A Motion Picture
Does anyone remember The Descent (old PC-game) soundtrack? Well, this could have been on it. A very spheric version of the weirdest song on “Neonism”. Calm, futuristic and great. Could under other circumstances be heard on Goa-parties in the chillout-zone. Recommended.
Havoc Unit: Bragi (Prayer Of A Son)
And again HAVOC UNIT. Darker, hostile, more impending and alien this time. A trip beyond the stars to corners where even Jean-Luc has not been before. Another highlight.
G.U.T.: When The Moon Is On The Wave
Last but not least the man himself: Cornelius with his side-project G.U.T. (no, NOT the porn-grinders). A slow, dark and menacing version of Lord Byron’s poem. And strangely the least electronic sounding track on this CD. This could pass as a slower, more relaxed version of the original track. Very good job as well.
Far more listenable hommage to an important norwegian band than ULVER’s exploration into the same regions a few years ago. The concept is the same, but where ULVER have dug out artists who think throwing canaries into a fan, record this, then playing it again backwards on double speed while doing the hoovering and record that AGAIN is funny, this tribute (except for ZWEIZZ who has probably no canaries left and PETA on his trail) is listenable and very well done for the most part. This is for the open-minded SOLEFALD-fan (which I guess you are anyway by liking SOLEFALD in the first place) and ventures into more electronic regions. But even then there is a fair amount of distortion for the average metalhead, and getting the hands on the “Jernlov”-demo wich only turns up so often on Ebay for high prices is a not a bad thing either.
“Jernlov” Demo 1996
01 – Motmenneske
02 – Philosophical Revolt
03 – Sivilisasjonens Slør – Ravnens Fall
04 – When The Moon Is On The Wave
“The Cicular Drain” 2008
05 – Red For Fire + Black For Death (Exorcise)
06 – Survival Of The Outlaw (The Bombs Of Enduring Freedom)
07 – Fluorescent (The Total Orchestra) (Dj:!!j Lazare)
08 – Sun I Call (Havoc Unit)
09 – There Is Need (The Extreme Zweizz Fuckover)
10 – CK II Chanel No 6 (Half Sherman)
11 – A Motion Picture (Red Sector A)
12 – Bragi (Prayer Of A Son) (Havoc Unit)
13 – When The Moon Is On The Wave (G.U.T.)