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Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects - Sol Niger Within CD (album) cover


Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects


Experimental/Post Metal

4.15 | 130 ratings

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The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Sol Niger Within stands alone. True enough, the Meshuggah element is still there (as you would expect from their soul songwriter's solo project), but it has its own unique outlook on metal music. This album is nowhere near as extreme as Meshuggah for one thing, it is in ways more complex and experimental however, the most standout element in this that you will barely find in a Meshuggah album is the jazz influence, evident in the chord progressions and Frederick's solos. There is also a little use of square synth voices as well to add to the overall weird experience. I do have a love for this album, but I have a few minor complaints and one very major complaint.

The minor complaints are first off, it does get a little too repetitive at times, and the guy does seem to stick with the same formula of a different polymeter per track. I think this idea lacks musicality grossly, although as you surf through the album track by track, you hardly notice. It just frustrates me a little. Secondly is the production. Personally, I think the bass is sky high where it needn't be, and blurs out a lot of the interesting instrumental additions, which is a big shame really.

As for my one BIG complaint, it is in fact the only thing that is stopping me from rating this album musically a 5 star. This complaint is of the fillers. I've never been a fan of them, like in Tool's Lateralus, I think they should be scrapped completely. But even in Lateralus, at least the filler songs are tuneful and atmospheric to a degree. The fillers in this are pretty much... well, unlistenable to me. I'm talking about Uforia, Painful Disruption, Cosmic Vagina Dentata Organ and as a matter of fact that big latter middle chunk of what I like to call noise. I have no idea what the guy was thinking, but it isn't even music to me. If it were cut out of the record, as I mentioned before, it would have improved the album and brought it up to monolithic heights in my book. Even if it does mean making the whole thing only about an hour long. The mechanical talking sections also spoil it for me.

So baring in mind I can't actually listen to the album as a whole, I cannot possibly rate it a masterpiece. However, it does have its masterpiece moments, like Morgan Agren's flawless drumming, Bouncing In A Bottomless Pit, the last track, the cool opener, Och Stjärnans Namn Var Malört and many more brilliant tracks/sections/factors. Overall though, the highest I can rate this is a 4 star effort.

The Pessimist | 4/5 |


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