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Solefald > Pills Against the Ageless Ills > Reviews
Solefald - Pills Against the Ageless Ills

Less talk, more walk - 75%

doomknocker, June 17th, 2009


My first excursion into the 'FALD world, through vicarious curiousity, came from 1999's uber-ambitious "Neonism", an album that threw me for an absolute loop. One needs to have a keen, open mind to enjoy an avant-gardean masterwork that can turn black metal into a gelatinous, multi-faceted orb of musicality (save for the poor soul who felt the need to give them a death threat). And obviously it would be an album which would possess big shoes to fill, so once the follow-up burst onto the scene this listener would hope it would be just as grand.

It wasn't...but was still good for what it was.

For this album Cornelius and Lazare decided to take a more straight-forward approach to the music, and as a result much of the bombastic weirdness was forsaken. Nevertheless the album is atwitter with many different styles that change almost riff-by-riff, from blast-beat-heavy black metal, to atmospheric BLACK SABBATH-like doom, to funky jazz breaks, to anything else in between. Grinding guitar riffs couple with soothing organ and synth lines, cascading beneath the floating dual vocal approach the two performers are adept at perfecting with each and every album (Cornelius' growls working well with Lazare's crooning) that spit out the now-standard thought-provoking poetry of social criticism Cornelius seems to teem with. Said lyrics are based off a strange, sordid story that is a bit confusing to get into, as the dialogue (if you can call it that) is very cryptic in approach, depending on the song; the chaotic "Hyperhuman" and the eerily calm "Pornographer Cain" make more sense lyrically than stranger tracks like "The USA Don't Exist", and the closer "Hierarch". Even still, the general performance is still spot-on, epic, and heavy...somethings all three at once.

So all in all this is more of the red-headed stepchild of SOLEFALD's usual reportoire of musical madness. Streamlining isn't always a bad thing, however, and this should end up getting more than a few spins.

Great concept album! - 88%

Cravinov13, May 3rd, 2007

Solefald is an avant garde / post-black metal band from Norway. The two man band was formed in in 1995 by keyboardist/ drummer/ vocalist Lars Are Nedland and guitarist/ bassist/ vocalist Cornelius Jakhelln. Their band name is literally translated from Norwegian to mean 'fall of the sun', or simply 'sunset'. The band released two albums before signing to German record label Century Media Records and releasing their famous third album Pills Against The Ageless Ills, which is a concept story about two brothers and their journey through life. The album is a very straightforward, dense form of post-black metal, different forms of hard rock, grunge, techno, and progressive metal giving the band their own unique style of music.

Pills Against The Ageless Ills lyrics are based on a story concept written by band cofounder Cornelius. The story is based on two brothers, Pornographer Cain, a pornography director who is accused for the murder of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and Philosopher Fuck, a monk who is exiled from the United States and lives his last days in Paris, France. Both brothers are supposed to represent the similarities and differences of the feelings of desire and the feelings of remorse in human nature.

The orchestral strings at the beginning of the opening track, Hyperhuman, are not only atmospheric and soothing, but greatly misleading. At 8 seconds into the melody, heavy blast beats, punishing riffs, and vicious screaming switching off with operatic singing take control of the song. The track is very straight foreword, and has a good quick guitar breakdown near the 55 second marker. About a minute and a half through the song, a dark ambiance takes over, but only for a few seconds before the aura assault continues, only this time being backed up by the keyboard and ambient melodies. The track then goes into a fast guitar solo only to halt all together, and go into a soft, atmospheric breakdown followed by some apocalyptic riffs and furious drumming. The song is an introduction into the world of the two brothers, and their current status in society. The story finally kicks off with track two, Pornographer Cain, in which the producer kills Kurt Cobain. The song begins with some grooving heavy riffs that lead into a doom metal atmosphere, with slow yet precise riffs, soprano vocals, and dark chanting. Keyboard backdrop as a presence in the track as well, sounding one with the vocals, making it seem like a background choir singing. The song then goes into a techno breakdown around half way, with some upbeat drumming and groovy guitar licks. A bass atmosphere takes over along with some dark ambiance, only to ascend into some sweeping guitar riffs and solos. One of the best songs on the album musically and lyrically.

Charge Of Total Affect is the conviction of Pornographer Cain as a murderer. A typical black metal song in the sense of heavy riffs, keyboard orchestrations, and brutal blast beats along with harsh screaming mixed with low melodic singing. The riffs are very chuggy throughout the heavy parts. A breakdown occurs at the 1 minute and 40 second marker, which has some upbeat keyboard riffs along with a constant light chug on the bass guitar. The song contains a lot of breakdowns broken up by some heavy riffage. Another standout track, and overall unique one that can best describe Solefald's sound as original. Hate Yourself is another heavy hitter, with heavy drum lines, chugging guitar riffs, and strong bass presence along with light keyboard backdrop. The song introduces Philosopher Fuck into the scene. In which the monk performs an intolerable act upon his church (the song doesn't really specify what it was he did though), that causes him to be band from the U.S. The song is much like Hyperhuman, with heavy bridges, light choruses, and great guitar solos. There are no noticeable breakdowns in this song though, making it less of a standout by Solefald standards.

The next song, Fuck Talks is Philosopher Fuck's submission to his crimes as he is deported to France. The song has some great sweeping guitar riffs, great vocal melodies and harsh vocals, and some amazing drum work. Even the heavy parts of the song sound as if they have an ambient feel to them due to the powerful keyboard backdrop throughout the entire song. Near the end of the song it goes into a moody breakdown with drum rolls and keyboard ambiance. Possible one of the best Solefald tracks of their early work, and on this album, although rather straight foreword, the track has a very strong attachment to any one who listens to it. The Death Of Father is, of course, about the two brother's father's death. The song has a very quirky sound to it unlike any of the previous tracks on the album. The song basically tells of the brothers in their mourning of their father, who lies on his death bed, heartbroken, from knowledge of what his sons have done. Although the song stands out as a unique track, the song does not flow well nor does it compare to any of the previous songs on the album.

The USA Don't Exist is a catchy tune, and poor on the grammar side. The song is about the brother's loss of faith in America, as they meet their faiths. The song has some great heavy, grooving riffs and melodic breakdowns with croaky 'old man' vocals that sound strange, but good, in mix with the song. A lot of the keyboard backdrop dominates the song in both it's heavy parts and slow, ambient breakdowns. One of the best tracks on the album. Anti-City Strategy begins with some dark riffs and keyboard ambiance that ascends into a powerful atmospheric aura of doomy riffs and powerful vocal melodies. The song is about the brothers desires against their enemies, as Pornographer Cain is sentenced, and Philosopher Fuck becomes deathly ill in France. The track is a lot like The Death Of Father in it's unique approach to presenting itself, with heavy blast beats mixed in with sweeping ambient melodies. The song flows a lot better then The Death Of Father, though, but not a standout on the album.

The story comes to an end with Hierarch, which begins with a groovy drum intro that goes into some dark guitar riffs and more croaky 'old man' vocals. The song speaks of Pornographer Cain's sentence to death, and Philosopher Fuck's untimely death in a French hospital. The song has some great black metal vocals and atmospheric guitar riffs and heavy bass work. The song becomes more presentful when keyboard ambiance comes in to give the song more atmosphere. All together, it is a straight forward track that flows well and is a great ender to this great album. Although the story is rather lame in it's own way, and quite cheesy, you can't help but laugh at the brilliance of the concept, an the irony behind the band's lyrics.


Brilliantly unique - 99%

Noël, August 13th, 2004

Simply amazing. In “Pills Against the Ageless Ills,” Solefald use the tale of two American brothers, Pornographer Cain and Philosopher Fuck, to present their commentary on modern society. In this brilliantly presented album, Solefald show off their intelligence and talent without coming off as pretentious. The music is incredibly catchy and well-written. None of the songs sound the same, none are boring, and none are filler. Solefald create this atmosphere of modernism, much like other post-black bands, with their cleaner production and usage of electronics.

The vocals have to be one of my favorite things about Solefald. Lazare provides the clean singing with a somewhat soft and tranquil voice which sounds great when accompanied with the music, whereas Cornelius does the black vocals as well as the raspy-sounding “old man” vocals. Both suit the music well.

Compared to “Neonism,” “Pills” has much better production. The improved production is one of the things I like the most with this album. Solefald doesn’t sound their best when their production is a bit off. A bit blacker and less experimental than “In Harmonia Universali,” I find “Pills” to be a bit less accessible, but much more accessible to the listener than raw black metal or anything else harsh. I suggest this album to anyone who has enjoyed anything else by Solefald, fans of other post-black bands like Arcturus, or anyone who is slightly interested in expanding their metal tastes and don’t object to harsh vocals.

Notable tracks include “Pornographer Cain,” “Hate Yourself,” and “The USA Don’t Exist.”