Solefald Black for Death: An Icelandic Odyssey Part II

For anyone familiar with Solefald’s last album — Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey Part I — Black for Death holds few surprises. These two records are clearly companion pieces, telling sections of the same Norse tale and expressing the band’s determination to deliver the Solefald-ian definition of true Viking metal. The trials of Bragi, the betrayed court poet, continue on Black for Death, while musical themes from the previous album resurface as reminders of what has come before. Like Red for Fire, Part II draws heavily on atmospheric sounds for its narration, weaving through blackened metal, traditional balladry and modern jazz while remaining none of those things, maintaining the band’s reputation for avant-garde experimentation. Black for Death calls upon the same guests as Part I as well — violin, cello and saxophone players, female vocalist Aggie Frost Peterson, and Icelander Jörmundur Ingi reciting the humorous mythological poem "Lokasenna” — but this record introduces an additional performer: Trickster G (Ulver’s Garm), who adds his distinctive, slippery vocals to "Loki Trickster God.” Individual songs aren’t at the core of this album’s appeal; Black for Death is intricate and complex, best understood as the second half of a coherent whole. (Season of Mist)