Recording information: Christianssands of Norway.
The Linear Scaffold was Solefald's debut album, and it showed right off the bat that they were a band with their own sound and vision. They get lumped into the black metal genre, and they do have certain sonic elements in common with the more symphonic black metal bands such as early Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir; for instance, the big pipe organ keyboards and the painfully shrieking vocals that appear on much of this album. But Solefald passes on the overdone gothic aesthetic favored by so many bands in this same symphonic black metal field, and their music is more wide-ranging and open to experimentation than most bands of that type. Considering that this is just a duo, the songs and arrangements are especially full-sounding, incorporating a variety of keyboards (synth strings, acoustic piano, horror movie organs, and the above-mentioned pipe organs) and vocal styles (clean-voiced singing, spoken passages in both French and English, death metal growls, and high-pitched shrieks) in addition to a nice mix of clean-toned, distorted, and acoustic guitars. The songwriting also has a great sense of flow and dynamics, balancing moody, atmospheric sections with moments of shrieking, blasting intensity, and heaviness. Just as importantly, they come up with consistently strong and memorable melodies throughout the album. For music of this expansive, open-ended sort, this album is a bit on the short side, clocking in at less than 40 minutes, but that's just about the only criticism. One of Solefald's best. ~ William York