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SOLEFALD

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Norway


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Solefald biography
SOLEFALD(meaning "sunset" in Norse)is an Avant-Garde Progressive/Post-Black Metal two-man project, featuring Lars "Lazare" Nedland(also known for his work with AGE OF SILENCE, BORKNAGAR and WINDS, amongst others), handling vocals, keyboards and drums, and Cornellius Jakhelln(Sturmgeist) on vocals, guitars and bass duties. The group has consisted of just two musicians ever since it was formed in August 1995, except for guest appearances.

The first SOLEFALD recording, containing five songs, was titled "Jernlov" and released in 1995. Incorporating the sound of the Black Metal of those times together with a diversity of musical influences, including jazz and classical, the demo sounded fresh and experimental, thus making SOLEFALD one of the most enlightening extreme Norwegian groups of the mid 90's, along with the likes of FLEURETY, ARCTURUS and VED BUENS ENDE. Having signed to Avantgarde Music in 1996, the duet released their debut full-length album "The Linear Scaffold", featuring a couple of tracks from the demo, as well as additional boundary pushing material. The couple followed the release of "The Linear Scaffold" by the only tour in their career as a group, having used the services of session musicians Jens-Petter Sandvik, Didrik von PanzerDanzer and Tarald Lie. The single European tour with HAGGARD and TRISTANIA was Lazare's and Cornelius's only together, and they have remained a studio-only collective ever since.

2 years later "The Linear Scaffold" saw an earth-shattering successor in "Neonism" - SOLEFALD's most bizarre and experimental album. Mixing traditional and contemporary music styles with a healthy dose of 70's progressive rock, adding vocals ranging from black metal shrieks to clean singing to an unusual kind of rapping(!), the musicians created a chaotic, extraordinary cocktail of styles that not even every brave avantgardist would dare to drink.

After changing the label, to Century Media, the group recorded and released their third album "Pills Against The Ageless Ills" only three years after. It was a concept album that continued exploring many of the modern ideas previously seen on "Neonism", yet presented in a more accessible and listenable shape. "In Harmonia Universali", the album's follow-up, saw the light in 2003, and was an epic, proggy release, written in four languages and dedicated to the famous geniuses of the world. Although the album was more straight-forward in comparison to the group's past efforts, mor...
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Norron LivskunstNorron Livskunst
The End Records 2011
Audio CD$8.97
$6.69 (used)
Black for Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Pt 2Black for Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Pt 2
Season of Mist 2006
Audio CD$108.03 (used)
Linear ScoffoldLinear Scoffold
Peaceville UK 2008
Audio CD$6.55
$4.98 (used)
Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey 1Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey 1
Season of Mist 2005
Audio CD$17.48 (used)
In Harmonia UniversaliIn Harmonia Universali
Century Media 2003
Audio CD$48.49
$1.76 (used)
NeonismNeonism
Peaceville UK 2009
Audio CD$6.51
$11.34 (used)
Pills Against the Ageless IllsPills Against the Ageless Ills
Century Media 2001
Audio CD$3.95 (used)
Circular DrainCircular Drain
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$24.84
$19.00 (used)
Norronasongen. Kosmopolis NordNorronasongen. Kosmopolis Nord
Import
Imports 2014
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Red For Fire [Vinyl]Red For Fire [Vinyl]
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2006
Vinyl$35.54
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SOLEFALD discography


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SOLEFALD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 14 ratings
The Linear Scaffold
1997
3.39 | 13 ratings
Neonism
1999
3.22 | 8 ratings
Pills Against The Ageless Ills
2001
4.12 | 17 ratings
In Harmonia Universali
2003
3.67 | 9 ratings
Red for Fire : An Icelandic Odyssey Part 1
2005
3.78 | 9 ratings
Black for Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Part 2
2006
2.32 | 6 ratings
Norrøn Livskunst
2010

SOLEFALD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Jernlov
1995

SOLEFALD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Neonism by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.39 | 13 ratings

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Neonism
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Neonism' - Solefald (6/10)

Norwegian metal duo Solefald's second album 'Neonism' was a massive change in style for this band. Although most typically associated with the black metal sound, Solefald can be heard really stretching out, taking influences from a wide array of styles and experimenting with how these widely contrasting sounds could be merged together as one. The album is still highly regarded by avant-garde metal afficionados, although hearing the music here, I do get the impression their ambitions outweighed their abilities.

'Neonism' has enough different angles, colours and tastes to it to make a rainbow feel bland. There are still some disparate black metal influences in the sound, but this songwriting is generally dense, melodic, and quirky, rather than atmospheric and dark. Solefald is clearly not interested in catering to the whims of a traditional black metal scene, there are vocal growls, howls, and rasps and even some riffs that are reminiscent of extreme metal sound, but you won't hear anything heavy here without it being followed up by something light-hearted. The clean vocals here are somewhat reminiscent of likeminded duo Vintersorg, although much more diverse. Here, a listener will hear both band members scream, croon, belt, and even pull off some spoken word sections. While listening to this, I am hearing a lot of very interesting ideas, but a large problem of 'Neonism's is that the ideas all seem to try to take the spotlight at once. The music feels dense, and almost as if there are two songs playing at once. This sense of disorientation in music can be done very well, but here it feels more haphazard than ingenious, and the thin production standard doe not help much either.

The lyrics here are another matter altogether. It's granted that one benefit of rampant experimentation is that one does not need to hold up to the same standards of more conventional bands, but it does not stop the fact that even after letting 'Neonism' sink in full, the lyrics feel awkward, jokey, and out-of-place. Solefald obviously attempts some sort of social critique here about consumerism and conformity, but it does not change the fact that rhymes here feel contrived and shallow, and- need I even mention- hearing the name Calvin Klein in a song, and then comparing him to a god sounds like the work of a prankster... or a genius, but I'm going to go with prankster.

'Neonism' does not seem to be an album that takes itself entirely seriously, and this has both positive and negative ramifications. It is an album that sees Solefald testing new ideas freely, but on the other hand, the convoluted nature of the album seems more like a fault than a mere matter of album depth.

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 Norrøn Livskunst by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.32 | 6 ratings

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Norrøn Livskunst
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Norrøn Livskunst' - Solefald (4/10)

A collaboration between two guys who have had a fair amount of impact in the modern Norwegian black metal scene, Solefald has done some great things with their style in the past, throwing nuances into the typically harsh sound of black metal that aren't normally heard. 'Norrøn Livskunst' is Solefald's seventh album, and admittedly my first legitimate experience with the band. As a newcomer to the work of the band, I had only ever heard a few songs here and there, but even though I had little preconception of what Solefald's latest would sound like, I still find myself underwhelmed. Although the band shows remarkable promise with a folk-tinged progressive black metal sound, too often do their experiments go sour, sometimes even leading the music to be unpleasant to listen to.

'Song Til Stormen' opens the album off on a remarkable, albeit deceitful note. From the first wonderfully harmonized clean vocals and anthemic build-up of the music, I was instantly reminded of fellow progressive black metal duo Vintersorg. Although the band's approach here sounds almost too similar to Andreas Hedlund's Vintersorg, I still found myself greatly enjoying it; well composed and performed viking metal. As with most disappointing albums however, the first song here is the greatest, and also the only track I would recommend someone to listen to. From here on, the rest of 'Norrøn Livskunst' is a highly inconsistent roller coaster that often crashes and burns before lifting up again.

Many of the tracks here fall into the realm of fairly average, fairly enjoyable folkish viking metal, with some great vocal harmonies and occasional dives into female singing. It is ironic that my favourite aspect of this album- the vocals- are also part of what takes 'Norrøn Livskunst' from being a generally decent album into the territory of a record I would not be able to listen through again, despite the moments of grandeur. Chief among the errors Solefald made here was the invitation to bring the vocal stylings of fellow Norwegian rockers Animal Alpha into the mix. As can be heard at its most ear-cringing, 'Tittentattentetski' features some sort of vocal work (I dare not call it singing) in which a member of Animal Alpha sounds like a child screaming for ice cream moreso than anything music-related. Unfortunately, Solefald have their own bad moments here; the 'Blackabilly' song being worst of all; in which the band gears down to some of the worst lyrics I've heard in months; "One two three, blackabilly me. Four five six, burning kicks..."

Vocals aside, there is nothing to complain about, nor praise. Despite a few moments where Solefald cleverly incorporates some scarce jazzy saxphone phrases, things are kept fairly tame, and anyone who has heard some of the more modern melodic black metal from Norway should know what to expect; fast strumming of chords, tremolo picking and the occasional folkish moment. I cannot say 'Norrøn Livskunst' has impressed me by any measure regardless. The band is certainly capable, but due to a generally derivative sound and the fact that bands like Vintersorg have done this much better, Solefald does not sit well with me with this first impression.

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 Pills Against The Ageless Ills by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.22 | 8 ratings

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Pills Against The Ageless Ills
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Pills Against The Ageless Ills is the third full-length release by the influential Norwegian Avant-Metal duo Solefald, consisting of Cornelius and Lazare, and also their first concept album. Marginally different from their previous effort, the album is an emotionally charged and, somewhat straightforward if compared to its predecessor, musical journey into the issues of the contemporary society.

If one listens to Pills Against The Ageless Ills having followed the band's progression chronologically, album after album, a very noticeable change will, no doubt, stand out. A major problem of the previous releases was its poor production, and it was a great misfortune that sound quality stood in the way in fully appreciating those gems - so many interesting things were going on in those works. The discussed album solves this problem entirely, as everything sounds clear enough to be heard well on this release. While that is definitely positive when taken out of any context, a more important observation would be that this album is not a gem at all.

If opposed to the second release, the brilliant Neonism, the sound quality of which is arguably its only issue, Pills Against The Ageless Ills features tamer songwriting and musicianship. Surprisingly (as the sound of the album bears little resemblance to the music Cornelius and Lazare draw their influence from), much of the album is uncannily not unlike 90s alternative metal, straightforward and simple, at least in contrast to the milkshake of genres and ideas that was Neonism, effective use of keyboards and sudden changes being some of the few progressive elements present. A fresh look on the elements of the black metal scene of the early 90s as heard in Solefald's music, primarily shown in the "extreme" vocal style, some drumming and a bit of riffing, is typical to the post-black genre; however, it does not single-handedly form the progressive element.

The shift in vocal styles also deserves being paid attention to, albeit solely from Cornelius's side. The maniacal shrieking found in the first two Solefald releases is gone, replaced by a considerably toned down lower grunting vocal style. Lazare's vocal performance does not really require any comments at all, as usual. Always a remarkable singer since the first known recordings of his voice, he is one of the most recognisable "clean" singers in the progressive metal genre. His singing has not changed at all after all these years. However, there is another "clean" vocal styles that appears here, that has by now become as much of a trademark to Solefald as Lazare's voice has, that being the unusual raspy singing from Cornelius. Often resembling simple, rhythmical speaking, it manages to be far more expressive than one would expect.

The band always paid much attention to the contemporary life in its lyrics, and this album is not only not an exception, but the best example of these tendencies. The mainstream culture of consumerism and gluttony with all its ills is put to great scrutiny here, using the stock characters of Pornographer Cain and Philosopher Fuck. The concept album shifts between the two from one song to another, showing how their state of mind and philosophy manifest themselves as important events take place, and by the end of the album you will wonder which of them you find least repulsive. The artists themselves argue that there is a lot of Cain and Fuck in all of us. While the reason behind this statement is something each person should question on his or her own, I personally cannot disagree that seeds of both main characters are present in every person to a known extent.

The interruption of the review of the album's musical qualities is by no means accidental. Like many other concept albums, lyrics take a dominant place, to which the music serves merely as accompaniment, complementing and intensifying the ideas. When that is taken into account, it becomes clear why such sounds were chosen and why such a direction was taken. The music sounds more effective and fitting when the lyrical concept of the work is considered.

While I have to confess I would be dishonest if I claimed I do not enjoy this album and do not listen to it very frequently, I do strongly believe that the recording under analysis is the band's least progressive as well as least ambitious work. There is no reason not to check it out for those already familiar with the duo; however, to those not yet acquainted with them I strongly urge to find one of the first two releases instead, either The Linear Scaffold or Neonism that highlight the originality of the fresh blood the musicians brought to the world of music as well as their sheer creativity.

Though I believe that Pills Against the Ageless Ills is a step back from Neonism, it is nevertheless a step forward, progress (that is, development), without which future interesting works like In Harmonia Universali would not have been conceived in the way we know them. A lot could be improved about it, but it is still an enjoyable album.

Good, but non-essential

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 Neonism by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.39 | 13 ratings

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Neonism
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Neonism is the second album from experimental norwegian metal band Solefald. Their debut was a pretty interesting album and Neonism continues to surprise. I must say it´s one of the most innovative metal albums I have heard in a long time. Solefald is a two man studio ( only) band that consists of COrnelius on vocals, guitar and bass and Lazare on vocals, Synthesizers and drums.

Solefald is influenced by many genres on Neonism and as a result the music can seem a bit inaccessible and strange at times. There are lots of black metal riffing ( of the melodic and symphonic sort) and black metal growling sneers, but there are also lots of clean singing. The vocals are pretty diverse which is a treat on Neonism. The songs have lots of sections so the music can´t be accused of being repetitive. The lyrics seem a bit foolish to me, but maybe the humour eludes me a bit.

I found some strange sources of inspiration in some of the songs I will mention just so you can get a picture of how diverse Solefald is on Neonism. The chorus to CK II Chanel N*6 ( which by the way has some of most stupid lyrics I have ever heard. I guess they are suppossed to be funny, but I´m not laughing) reminds me of Rammstein if they sang in english while I can also hear influences from another german band called Depressive Age in some of the music. If you the experimental nature of Neonism you should also check out the last album from Depressive Age called Electric Scum. In Backpaka Baba I think the talking vocals sounds like Beck which is another witness to the diverse nature of the music.

The two musicians playing here are flawless. The are very good musicians.

The productions is good but nothing special.

Solefald has certainly evolved since their debut and even though this is clearly the same band playing the style is pretty different at times. I can´t say this is my favorite style or band for that matter but I will give 3 stars for the innovative nature of Solefald´s music. I would start with the debut before listening to this one though.

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 The Linear Scaffold by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.83 | 14 ratings

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The Linear Scaffold
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I can see from earlier reviews of The Linear Scaffold the debut album from norwegian extreme metal band Solefald that the album is praised as being very experimental and that it signaled a renewal in the black metal genre at the time of it´s release. I must partially agree as I also think this is a good album and that there probably wasn´t many like it back in 1997. There are a few things that keeps this from being an excellent album though and for me it´s especially the vocals.

Processed vocals in black and death metal have never been my cup of tea and especially not when you sound like Filthy Danni from Cradle of Filth using his pig squeal vocals. I´m sorry but that just turns me off. It´s ok for a song or two but then it becomes comical and what you don´t want in extreme metal is to be comical. Actually the vocal perfomances are very varied but the squealing vocals are omnipresent throughout the album and it bothers me. The clean vocals which are very nordic sounding in their paatos are very good.

The music is pretty diverse too ranging from melodic black metal to more avant garde excursions. It never gets weird though and the many acoustic parts helps the album to be very dynamic.

Both Cornelius and Lazare are very competent musicians there´s no doubt about that. Great singers and instrumentalists.

The sound quality isn´t the best but it´s not disturbing my listening pleasure and that´s the most important thing.

All in all a very good debut album from Solefald, even though I really can´t stand the pig squeal vocals, but I can live with that because the rest of the music is very good. 3 stars for this album is what I will give.

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 The Linear Scaffold by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.83 | 14 ratings

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The Linear Scaffold
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by avalanchemaster

5 stars a truly gruondbreaking release, adding elements that had not really been heard in Black Metal before...this started the wave of weirdness in the realms of black metal. Not only is the songwriting and styles included breathtakingly beautiful, but the lyrics hint at a dark and clever mind behind the music. The fact that this is just two guys putting this all together speaks volumes....anyway, this is philosophical "black metal" (I put the quotes because this album really stretched the boundaries of what was acceptable at the time) that speaks to the pretentious in all of us, but it is not high brow just to thumb it's nose at everyone, no it is simply elegant.

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 The Linear Scaffold by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.83 | 14 ratings

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The Linear Scaffold
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Melomaniac
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Now here's a surprise. Solefald on Prog Archives. The open-mindedness of the prog metal team flabbergasts me again. Where can I sign up ?

Solefald is an avant-garde black metal (or post black metal) affair, very much like Arcturus (La Masquerade Infernale) and Ephel Duath (Phormula) are. Progressive, you may ask ? You betcha !!! More progressive than some so-called progressive bands, in any case.

The Linear Scaffold, as an album, is anything but linear. We are taken through so many different moods throughout this album it is hard to keep track. From black metal blast beats to beautiful piano motifs, from screeching vocals to spoken word poetry, from folk to classical, all within these 40 minutes. Noise ? Not at all. In fact, the songs in themselves are coherent, and, strangely enough, so is the album. The production is average, but works well enough for the type(s) of music. The execution of the two musicians here is not flawless (it was, after all, their first album as Solefald), but the brilliant and original ideas displayed more than make up for it.

If you are the adventurous type, you ought to give this album a few spins, as one will probably not do, unless you are an avant-garde open minded nut. Not into metal ? Stay away, we'll keep this excellent album to ourselves !

Four stars, and this is their first effort !

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 The Linear Scaffold by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.83 | 14 ratings

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The Linear Scaffold
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Everlasting

4 stars Inventing that music was crazyness. Density, lot of colours, many contrasts (a poem recited with piano next to post-black metal??). Yes it is, post-black! Raspy inhuman voices, acid riffs but everything based on intelligent and rich keyboard melodies, with clean voices too. The kind of avant-gardism you can experiment with Arcturus and such. But again, no comparaison possible, Solefald created his own sound. And as said, it's crazy. 70's rock, electro, jazz, pop, thrash and heavy metal... you can find them all. From the most delicate to the most extreme. And the cheekiest thing is that it's completely coherent, and more: monolithic. Their originality has no weakness, but some people will have difficulties with certain passages. Early Solefald is really something to hear once if you like avant-gardism. What the group has done after is also good, but here it's simply different: there is definitely something in the air unique. The introduction of Philosophical Revolt, the keyboard on The Macho Vehicle, the explosion on Countryside Bohemians... those will let you on the floor. 3.5

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 Neonism by SOLEFALD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.39 | 13 ratings

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Neonism
Solefald Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Solefald's most experimental and adventurous work.

'Post-Black' has been an adjective used to describe a certain sound or direction in heavy experimental music ever since the mid 90's. It was initially pioneered and adapted by Norwegian Black Metal groups (hence the -Black part), particularly by those who showed dismay towards the stagnancy of the genre or just an ambition, a wish to experiment outside of the borders set by the scene quite strictly. Solefald, a peculiar project of only two minds that in a way could be labeled as such, started their career and obviously had something urgent and innovative to let the music scene know. Nevertheless, while it can be said that their debut album The Linear Scaffold was a Post-Black album, the two musicians behind this eclectic collective strayed even further from any limits known to a Progressive Metal listener. The title "Avant-Garde", conveniently applied throughout time to art that goes both nowhere and everywhere, is a more suitable categorisation in this case.

Even prior to listening to the music itself, one will definitely notice the complete absence of Metal clichés in the album cover, song titles and lyrics, which deal with modern culture and society problems in a witty, clever way. What needs to be underlined once more is that Neonism is the group's most adventurous, chaotic and multi-genre work in their career. The album consists of ten tracks of various lengths, that are not only done in various style you would not expect a group of major Symphonic Prog tendencies or Black Metal to implement into their sound, but with most of the songs being abrupt and unpredictable to the highest extent. Symphonic prog, black metal, technical Prog-Metal, classical and jazz, which are not uncommon influences for musicians in Norway of the time, are joined with an unexpected presence of contemporary styles of modern music - which is shown in arrangements, as well as exploited vocal styles. Both Lazare and Cornellius have done their best at recording a variety of singing ways that would make Mike Patton's jaw drop. There are many kinds of clean singing, hardcore shouting, black metal rasps(at least three different types of them, in fact, the more you listen to the album, the more nuances you happen to notice), as well as rapping and reggaeton. The music is as fascinating to follow as anything I have heard before - the changes in tempo, mood and genre during just a single track are extremely sudden and make no sense at all on the initial listens. A Symphonic Black Metal part can be easily followed by a Drum'N'Bass beat with whispered vocals, done with such confidence, as if people have been playing music this way for centuries!

However, there would be little value within this album if it was just a nice cocktail of various contradictive styles, and this is the sphere where the musicians do not fail. In the spite of all the chaos, you can, although possibly not by a superficial approach, feel all the substance and thorough thinking put into the unconventional songwriting, which gifts the attentive listener with inspired, eerie and atmospheric moments from time to time (that are ruined by an awkward vocal style in accompaniment, but that is exactly the point), great riffs and amazing keyboard playing clearly influenced by the 70's Progressive Rock giants. Another aspect of Solefald's music worth pointing out is that the music does not seem clinical, academic or just surrealistic. There is an abundance of very memorable, catchy, at times even danceable, melodies and choruses (which after being repeated even twice will stay in your head forever), the best example of that being the immensely catchy

Neonism is definitely not the music for the average Prog fan, as elements of black metal, electronica and hip hop will be found to be particularly repulsive by many. However, there is so much creativity, intelligence, innovation and wit involved in both the songwriting and the lyrics that any listener who can cope with these elements, will find Neonism an enjoyable, fascinating experience. On the other hand, those who find that Neonism makes no sense and is way over the top, are free to look into other Solefald albums from the group's diverse discography, that tends to offer something for all kinds of progressive thinking listener.

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