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Solefald - "World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud" (CD)

Solefald - "World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud" CD cover image

"World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud" track listing:

1. World Music with Black Edges (7:56)
2. The Germanic Entity (8:11)
3. Bububu Bad Beuys (4:21)
4. Future Universal Histories (6:50)
5. Le Soleil (5:47)
6. 2011, or a Knight of the Fail (6:59)
7. String the Bow of Sorrow (6:37)
8. Oslo Melancholy (3:34)

Reviewed by on October 28, 2015

"If you can't handle the most bizarre that metal has to offer, then you should skip it, but if you dig music that plays by no rules at all, 'World Metal' is well worth experiencing to find the awe-inspiring parts hidden in all the insanity."

Prepare yourself for something completely different with Norwegian outfit Solefald's “World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud.” Not only is the disc not the typical metal experience, it even goes well beyond what would be expected of an experimental, avant-garde album. The title says it all, as “World Metal” takes styles from across the globe – many of them having no connection to extreme metal at all – and mashes them all together while laughing at the audience's confusion.

From beginning to end the album is a serious trip, starting with the intensely literal opening track “World Music With Black Influences.” The song assails with electronic club music over ethnic chants alongside black metal keyboards and guitars. Things just get more weird from there, and over the course of the disc you'll hear everything from African tribal beats and electronic synthpop to Viking style metal that appears on tracks like “Future Universal Histories.”

Besides just an instrumental odyssey, the vocal component also has an absurd range present, covering everything you can imagine – some awesome, and some too bizarre and over the top to be taken seriously. What makes it all work (for the most part) is that rather than just random styles smashed into each other, there's still structure to the music with core riffs and ideas recurring over time to keep things mildly grounded.

One of the more odd moments occurs in the opening two minutes of “Bububu Bad Beuys,” which is basically just the band messing around in the studio and making nonsense sounds into vocals. Its almost like the band is trying to make some sort of meta comment on heavy music, as the vocalist is making a song just by going “du du du du ba ba ba” with a harsh tone, and then in the second half the track shifts into a real song using all the same ideas from the intro. In places like this, it feels like Solefald is having a joke at the audience's expense, but at others the non-traditional combinations feel like an honest celebration of all forms of music.

If you can't handle the most bizarre of the bizarre that metal has to offer, then you should easily skip it, but if you dig music that plays by no rules at all, “World Metal” is well worth experiencing to find the awe-inspiring parts hidden in all the insanity.

Highs: Total lack of musical boundaries

Lows: Also the total lack of musical boundaries

Bottom line: It's a good bet there's no other album out there that sounds quite like this.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)