Wednesday, 5 November 2008

I only picked this up three weeks ago, which to many would seem odd. I’ve been following the Swedish movement onto the scene for many years, and embarrassing myself now would appear rather moronic. However, I’ve owned a tape (which has degraded quite considerably) for centuries that’s had most of the content of this album on it, as well as having a digital copy of the album stored on my hard-drive (a “borrowed” friends disc, for around five years, which sadly departed my way roughly eight weeks ago). Quite a contradiction that I illegally have owned some of the contents of this album for a long time now, but yet continue to argue against piracy, most of the time. Anyhow I felt compelled as a rush of decadence to actually purchase the album, and I do believe it’s the best part of 140SEK I’ve spent.

“Sol Niger Within” expands across twenty nine tracks and is a tremendously clever, intricate, and urgent concept. Combining various elements of tactile abstract jazz, rhythmic workouts, and power-chords, completes a satisfying package. Reiterations aside, “Sol Niger Within” was and still is a tangible milestone for any solo artist or group to reach. By the increasing force of intensity, “Sol Niger Within” is true to its very nature of leaving you within intensified shock, and tranquil standstill. This isn’t entirely fair, or what I believe to be the correct way to divide this concept (if division is entirely precise at all), but it will add to the simplicity of this report, not the wavering confusion. If we label tracks 1 – 9 the first third of this album, then tracks 10 – 17 the second third, and then tracks 17 – 28 the final third, consumption is then a much easier explanation. Commenting on the first third of the album; it feels rich with more fluid jazz and free-formic approaches to the song writing, with much release and perhaps a slight less intensity than any part of the album. The second third is dare I say much more aggressive in it’s execution compared to any other part of this album, with rich and compounding metal riffing combined with a hectic jazz overhaul it’s truly an ambitious and still to this day a working formula. The last third is interesting, with many lyrics that perhaps are meant to be understood by everyone in a Buddhist standstill. To be blunt, I honestly don’t feel it’s worth the effort to try and understand such values completely and therefore don’t feel some sort of ‘spirtual’ connection, as I’m aware various members of the fan base do. The album is riddled with quotes and extremely, (I personally believe far too over-the-top) cryptic lyrics, that unfortunately do not tap into my own tunnel vision of what makes brilliant music, but perhaps it’s shaped and moulded some people reading. And failing to understand the ‘cryptic-ism’ I inevitably still consider the thought that either there was perhaps a language barrier when plotting the lyrics, or simply the lyrics have no meaning and are meant to tie into Brian Eno’s marketing theory of ‘bringing people to the point where they start searching’. However if it all indeed is a marketing facade then I’m sure many core fans would feel apparently disappointed, and resoundingly slightly bitter. Further more at times, the impression of trying far too hard, creates an image which is needlessly fake. I’m in no way shape or form completely sceptical to the brilliance of such a record, but at the same time I have always kept the reaction that the album boasts a needles ‘Pompous to be different’ factor, when instead it should be focused on creating intelligent and great music. Or perhaps I’m getting ridiculous.

None the less, this concept sits comfortably beside achievements such as Meshuggah’s Catch 33, Opeth’s Watershed, and Morbid Angels’ Covenenant. And although not as different or twisted as electro acoustic releases this is a truly an evocative and revolutionary release for growth and maturity within the scene - 5/5.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 4:34 pm
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