artist: Sol Invictus
release: The Bad Luck Bird
year of release: 2010
label: Auerbach / Prophecy
detailed info: discogs.com
It’s been quite a wait, but after almost five years, 2010 sees the release of new Sol Invictus studio material. A full-length album is upcoming on Auerbach/Prophecy, but this 7″ is the first taste of what is to come on The Cruelest Month.
And that is, not surprisingly, classic neofolk as it is not often made anymore these days. Mainstays of the genre like Current 93 and Death in June have moved into different territories or relative silence since the early and mid-nineties, which can be considered the heyday of this particular sound. And as for later bands, we’ve seen some quality material here and there during the past ten years, but on the whole, the genre seems to be in low gear.
Who better than Sol Invictus would come with new material to celebrate this traditional neofolk sound? The A-side is a rousing and swooping song with strong percussion, a guitar chord base, and lead roles for flute, violin, and cello. The track is a logical but more powerful continuation of sounds from 2005’s The Devil’s Steed, and pretty much embodies the side of neofolk dedicated to grandeur and martian feelings. “Stella Maris” explores the calmer, more mysterious side of the music, without letting go of the full instrumentation.
If this style is any indication of what will feature on the upcoming album, it is something to look forward to, especially if you have a soft spot for Sol Invictus’ particular neofolk style. I must say that I was a bit disappointed by the overly modest packaging and layout of this limited 7″. In this digital age, vinyl buyers like to be rewarded with a dash of colour, a gatefold, or even an insert or inner sleeve would’ve been nice. Apart from that though, this is a very enjoyable single that shows Mr. Wakeford and his merry band have still got it.
Reviewed by O.S.
A. The Bad Luck Bird (Single Version) (3:37)
B. Stella Maris (3:37)