CD Review

Sol Invictus – “Sol Veritas Lux”

By Marcus Pan

Sol Veritas LuxBrilliantly packaged in a beautiful digipak, the re-release of 1988’s Sol Veritas Lux from one of neofolk’s originators, Sol Invictus, is surely pleasing to the eye. The music contained herein has been heard before, though remastering has brought out some of the deeper aspects of the spectrum. Released originally nearly twenty years ago, this 22 track collection was that which started Sol Invictus on their path of post-industrial neofolk, attempting to fuse older world sensibilities and culture into a modern society.

The dated sound of Sol Veritas Lux comes twofold – from the fact that it is folk based, and from the fact that it was made twenty years ago. Nonetheless fans of Current 93, Death In June or the Medeival Babes would dig it if they don’t already own it. The music is very dark and brooding, building a nighttime covent atmosphere, which I’m sure Sol Invictus were actually going for. Tendrils of Euro-folk, Gnosticism and sprit worlds wind about baritone accented vocals throughout.

The glossy paged booklet that comes with Sol Veritas Lux is nicely made and professionally done. Lyrics, notes and such – including a depressive story about the creation of Sol Invictus from Tony Wakeford. It encompasses the first two LPs released by the troupe smooshed onto one 22 track CD.

Songs like Against the Modern World sum up nicely the sensibilities of post-industrials like Sol Victus. Very roughly done with old world style, this is followed by the post-punk goth movement of Long Live Death, as Bauhausian as one of the original mold can hope for. Meanwhile songs like Untitled and Wolf-Age, Axe-Age I’m finding a bit too artsy with its spoken word and cliché chanting. It could be argued that cliché wouldn’t apply, as it’s from twenty years ago – but I did receive it in 2006 so that’s my take in the present.

Songs like these windy spoken word pieces are distributed evenly amongst acoustic and only slightly electric goth guitar tracks like Angels Fall and the instrumental The Joy of the World. There’s lots of acoustic as well. Percussion is tribal yet slow, almost African in some aspects to its low-bass beat. Even guttural at times.

Overall I’m not as into neofolk as some are. Sol Invictus provides some classic music for the genre and if it’s your thing your collection wouldn’t be complete without these forerunner’s first two originals as given here on Sol Veritas Lux. By today’s standards I find it a bit clichéd and maybe even a little silly, but twenty years ago it was a post-industrial force in a world railing against the onset of the modern devices of our age.

Contact Information:
Strange Fortune
Post: PO Box 440383, Somerville, MA, 02144, USA
Phone: (617) 718-9990
E-Mail: salo@strangefortune.com
Web: www.strangefortune.com

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