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Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects: Sol Niger Within (remastered)

For those who have been living under a rock for the past decade and a half, Fredrik Thordendal is the lead guitarist for Swedish technical extreme metal act Meshuggah, and Sol Niger Within is his 1997 solo debut, now being reissued and remastered by Metal Mind Productions. Ironically, he's yet to do a follow-up to this one, but then again, his main act has certainly kept him more than busy enough over the years.

Sol Niger Within is certainly going to be an acquired taste for some. It's not by any means all that similar to Meshuggah, though there are moments of beefy, off-kilter riffs & rhythms that will remind some of the Swedish juggernaut, and Thordendal's snaky, Allan Holdsworth inspired lead work is all over the album, but his Special Defects project is completely avant-garde in nature, sprinkled with death & black metal, jazz-fusion, electronica, and prog rock. Much of the lyrical content of the album deals with UFOs, the afterlife, and the end of the universe, and seeing that there are 29 short tracks that comprise Sol Niger Within, it almost plays like one long concept piece. It's about half instrumental, and half featuring vocals, with the vocal pieces including a combination of spoken narration, black metal shrieks, screams, and growls. Thordendal's guitar work is stellar as always, as he combines thunderous, technical riffs and blazing jazz-fusion solos throughout the album. The list of guests here is too lengthy and numerous to mention, but they help out on drums, bass, keyboards, sax, and vocals.

Unless you can truly appreciate avant-garde metal, Sol Niger Within is going to be a noisy, disjointed affair for you. However, if you have an open mind, there's a good chance this wildly experimental 1997 offering from Meshuggah's Fredrik Thordendal will find a permanent home in your CD collection. Metal Mind has done a great job remastering this for premium sound quality, and there's an essay about the album to go along with a booklet filled with lyrics and info about the songs that make up the album. Well worth seeking out of you somehow missed out on this one 13 years ago.

Track Listing
1. The Beginning of the End of Extraction (Evolutional Slow Down) 01:36
2. The Executive Furies of the Robot Lord of Death 01:28
3. Descent to the Netherworld 00:30
4. ...Och Stjarnans Namn Var Malört 01:54
5. Dante's Wild Inferno 00:59
6. I, Galactus 01:29
7. Skeletonization 00:15
8. Sickness and Demoniacal Dreaming 01:06
9. UFOria 00:39
10. Zeta 1 - Reticuli 02:52
11. Transmigration of Souls 01:28
12. In Reality All Is Void 00:30
13. Krapp's Last Tape 01:16
14. Through Fear We Are Unconscious 00:59
15. Death at Both Ends 00:59
16. Bouncing in a Bottomless Pit 01:14
17. The Sun Door 01:32
18. Painful Disruption 00:29
19. Vitamin K Experience (A Homage To The Scientist/John Lilly) 00:57
20. Cosmic Vagina Dentata Organ 03:33
21. Sensorium Dei 03:42
22. Zeta 2 - Reticuli 02:56
23. Magickal Theatre .33 01:50
24. De Profundis 02:52
25. Existence Out of Joint 00:30
26. On a Crater's Verge 01:14
27. Solarization 01:50
28. The End of The Beginning of Contraction (Involutional Speed Up/Preparation For The Big Crunch) 00:16
29. Tathagata 03:02

Added: November 27th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Metal Mind Productions
Hits: 3049
Language: english

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