Sol Invictus
In the Rain


5.0
classic

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
October 2nd, 2006 | 36 replies | 10,384 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is certainly some of the darkest music ever created. The brooding mini-orchestra and Wakeford's strong tone and lyricism all contribute to one huge sound. Folk doesn't always mean simple.

People often refer to metal as the most atmospheric and usually the most evil sounding music in the world today. Metal fans certainly have an argument. The relentless wall of sound coming from thrashing guitars and pounding drums and the often extremely dissonant music makes the perfect soundtrack for everyone’s fantasy evil. But I am here to tell all of you that the darkest album in modern music is a folk album. Nothing compares to Sol Invictus’ In the Rain.

But wait, isn’t a folk album usually just a guy and his guitar? Yes, usually, but this album is different. Tony Wakeford, a folk artist who released this album over 10 years into his career as a folk artist, pulled in a mini-orchestra to accompany him and his explorations on In the Rain. He uses violins, cellos, trumpets, and piano along with his guitar and voice to create a truly evil atmosphere. One will be hard-pressed to find a major tonality on this album. The dark, dissonant style of the music never lets go, a relentless tug on the heartstrings. The band creates a rush of melodies, although often in the same manner in every song. The cello provides the bass tone and the violin plays a melody that throws in color tones and adds to the chordal structure. A faint acoustic guitar melody often sits in the background and outlines the chord progression. It seems that Wakeford writes his songs based on these guitar melodies, as they alone make a song. These guitar melodies give the folk tinge to this music. Other instruments, such as brass or piano add even more melodic structure to the song. Piano often opposes the guitar melody, ascending when the guitar descends or vice versa. Finally, Wakeford adds in simple percussive instruments only to accent certain high points of the album. This grandiose folk music allows Sol Invictus to garner a somewhat pin-pointing genre, neofolk.

With all this melodic structure, Wakeford needs to do little with his voice to create amazing music. It is already there. However, he adds even more atmosphere with his voice and his lyrics. He possesses a clearly British accent and it comes through in his voice, creating a somewhat medieval aura about the music. Wakeford sings with a strong, deep voice. The quality and intonation lacks at some points, and his voice takes a few listens to get used to, but he creates music that suits his voice perfectly. Despite his strange voice, his lyrical content shines on this album. He sings about the inevitability death, the downfall of love, and the imperfections of life. Wakeford crafts his lyrics around classical allusions, extended metaphors, and simple rhyme schemes. The title track showcases his rhyme schemes, metaphors, and allusions all in one stanza.

Cupid's leering; let the game begin
He shoots the arrow, and our lives spin
Poison flows through our viper hearts
Put down our knives and raise a glass


Although Cupid is a weak classical allusion, almost cliché, he puts enough originality in his lyrics that it doesn’t matter. The rest of the title track showcases all the musical points of Sol Invictus in one track. The song slowly builds from a simple guitar melody, to that aforementioned rush of melodies including piano, cello, violin, and some dainty bells above the soundscape. The song effortlessly flows between different sections, going into chorus and verse without any real noticeable change in feel. In the Rain puts the essence of the entire album into one song.

However, that’s not to say that Sol Invictus relies on one sound entirely. In Days to Come is a much more rhythmic affair, opening with every instrument playing the same rhythm. The homorhythmic section allows for Wakeford to sing without any sound under him. The chorus breaks into a more melodic section, allowing the violin to go off into its own realm. Amazingly, Wakeford transitions these two sections flawlessly with no breaks in the music at all. The song uses standard instrumentation, although some tribal percussion accents the homorhythmic section. Lyrically, the song makes pagan references, a known theme for all of the neofolk movement. The album also gives plenty of opportunity for the instrumentals to shine. The opening and closing songs are purely instrumental, although the opener is simply an abridged version of the closer. Europa in the Rain builds upon a haunting cello line. A violin melody fills in the space of the cello line, which sets the precedent for the rest of the song. The song continually builds as the violins get frantically higher and higher and pounding percussion drives the song along. An orchestral, pizzicato strum closes out the album, about as fitting as it could get.

There is no bad song on this album. Every song is just as dark and brooding as the next, and the entire album gives off an incredibly epic feel. Falls Like Rain, with a slight bit of electric instrumentation, feels as if it could burst into a huge metal song at any moment, much in an Opeth manner. The whole epic feel conveyed even by acoustic instrumentation is what Opeth wishes they could do with their acoustic sections. The problems with this album are few. The tempo never varies much throughout the album; however, the general tempo is quick enough that nothing drags along the way. Wakeford’s voice needs a bit more strength in the bigger sections, but his diction and tone save this from being a huge issue. For some, the constant minor progressions may get tiresome, but a dominantly major tonality would ruin the entire atmosphere of the album. It is purely evil, dark, and brooding, and it does a superb job at that.

Recommended Tracks:
Europa in the Rain
Believe Me
In the Rain
Falls Like Rain
In Days to Come



Recent reviews by this author
Das Racist RelaxLil Wayne Tha Carter IV
The Weeknd ThursdayJay-Z and Kanye West Watch the Throne
Shabazz Palaces Black UpFleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 2nd 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So yeah I'm here to break up the onslaught of Into Eternity reviews.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
October 2nd 2006



1588 Comments


I liked this review, something about it caught my eye. Very good work.

The album sounds very interesting, I'll have to check it out sometime. Your intro reminded me of my review of Lull's Dream About Dreaming, one of the darkest albums that just happens to be an ambient-electronic album. I doubt this album can be as dark and horrifying as Dream About Dreaming. :p

Oh and thanks for saving the front page from all that Into Eternity. This Message Edited On 10.02.06

slack
October 2nd 2006



249 Comments


I've always heard about this band along with Current 93, and while I love Current 93, I've never actually got around to checking these guys out. This album sounds very interesting. I'll probably have to order it from Amazon, though, since I live in the middle of nowhere.

Good review.

Dr. Jake Destructo
October 2nd 2006



86 Comments


I've heard a couple of Sol Invictus songs, and I would have placed them more under the heading of avant garde; Sol Veritas Lux features a lot of synth-work, at least this is what I've drawn after hearing one song and reading a couple reviews...

Anyways, I oughta check an entire album out by this band, I really like what I hear.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 2nd 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Apparently, from what I've read, this is a bit obscure to the rest of the Sol Invictus catalog. This is the only album I have though.This Message Edited On 10.02.06

Zesty Mordant
October 2nd 2006



1196 Comments


great review, this sounds very interesting. I'll be sure to check it out.

Hatshepsut
October 2nd 2006



1997 Comments


It sounds interesting, but I'm not too fond of folk. So I dunno...

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 2nd 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That means nothing in reference to this album. It's much more grandiose and avant-garde than your average folk.

The Jungler
October 2nd 2006



4827 Comments


Huh, this sounds really cool. Good job FP.

slack
October 2nd 2006



249 Comments


I couldn't find this on Amazon.

DAMN IT

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
October 3rd 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Try a different online store.

CDBaby
CDUniverse
I know nothing about online stores.

Intransit
November 15th 2006



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great work. Im going to do my damndest to find it as it sounds pretty killer.

Muisee
November 15th 2006



679 Comments


I cannot find them on myspace, looks like someone else has their name, unless you really misjudged their sound :/.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 17th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There's a bunch of them on MySpace, the one that says he is Folk Rock is him, but his sound has changed. I don't think this is a good representation of his normal sound.

strangefortune
November 26th 2006



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A big thanks to FlawedPerfection for this insightful review.

In the Rain is a classic indeed, although out of print at the moment, may be a little hard to find.

Michael J. Salo
www.strangefortune.com
The source for strange & exquisite sounds

FlawedPerfection: this is Sol Invictus's US distributor. could you get in touch with us? we have something else that may be of interest to you.


FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 26th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hello Michael, how do you want me to get in touch with you?

naboo
December 7th 2006



39 Comments


I actually own this album, but have never listened to it. Why? you might ask. The reason is that I think Spring will be a better time to experience it for the first time. I'm weird like that. Just a couple more months...

Nice review, by the way.This Message Edited On 12.07.06

Doppelganger
January 31st 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I also have this and haven't listened to it yet, though that's because I got several other extroardinary albums at the same time that are very addicting. I'm going to take a few listens through this soon, though. I listened to the first two tracks and Stay was excellent.

Intransit
April 7th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I found this a while back.

Goddamnit, this is fucking unbelievable music. Probably the best folk album I've ever heard, and I wouldn't be surprised if this made it to classic status in time.

Cravinov13
April 8th 2007



3854 Comments


damn good stuff



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy