Sol Invictus - "Sol Veritas Lux"
(Tursa 2006, TA 001)

From Aural Innovations #35 (January 2007)

Sol Invictus is a British band and these recordings are from 1987-1988. This is the 2006 edition of Sol Veritas Lux and celebrates nearly 20 years of Sol Invictus. It is presented in a luxurious package with new liner notes and is freshly remastered to bring out even more of its "primitive glory". This CD combines their first two releases, "Against the Modern World" and the live recording, "In the Jaws of the Serpent". Tony Wakeford wrote most of the lyrics and music and is the guitarist and vocalist. He was also an original member ot the band "Death in June". On to the review...

ANGELS FALL - Goddamned frightening early 80's sounding pretentious Flock of Seagulls, MTV, horrible British accent that is truly Godawful. It's nowhere near in tune. I hope I can get past this part of their sound to even give this a proper review?!? RAVEN CHORUS - Some olde English, Renaissance Festival (which I usually like) sung poetry and then goes into the 1981 Joy Division thang!? This might've been very ahead of the pack at the time of it's release (1988), but now it's just plain gawdawful pretentiousness. Actually they sound very similar to mid 80's Austin Texas bands Guardez Lou and the Elegant Doormats, but they were good and Sol Invictus is more inept and commercial minded. AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD - I have to admit that on the second listen this is growing on me a little but maybe I'm just getting sleepy. LONG LIVE DEATH - Wire Magazine says "Sol Invictus blow most over-hyped death folk/psych records out of the water". A SHIP IS BURNING - I'm trying to say something positive but it's so easy to make fun of this on so many levels. This might've been the shit in the 80's (no, it wasn't) but now it just sounds ridiculous. UNTITLED - "Sol Veritas Lux is likely to rank as one of the most raw listening experiences you can ever find. Playing this album is like calling an arctic blast from Old Pagan Europe. Whatever you think, you are not ready to hear this album", so says the press sheet, at least the last line is true. SUMMER ENDS - Truly music of it's time! WOLF-AGE, AXE-AGE - Out dweebs itself at every step. ANGELS FALL (2) - I hate to be negative but this is Gawd Awful. I'm just glad they are really English! This singer is a bad joke!!! If the Wire Magazine says they are great who am I to disagree. I guess these recordings might be "important" from a historical perspective, but just from a pure listening perspective this CD is unbearable and I listened to plenty of this sorta thing in the 80's. If only the music could be as cool as the cover?!?! RISE AND FALL - If Spinal Tap were a Goth, New Wave band... THE WORLD TURNS - Considering this ws recorded in '87-'88 it's really not innovative in any way. There were 10 zillion bands doing this sorta thing a soon as MTV came out in '81, so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about? RUNES - I don't know, maybe they were great live? Prolly not, this is more like the Shaggs trying to sound like Echo and the Bunnymen. GOLD IS KING - In the liner notes Tony Wakeford apologizes for his vocals but that doesn't make listening to this CD any more bearable or this music any more innovative. TWA KORBIES - Interesting, maybe they got much better later on? SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE - The drums sound like someone who barely knows how to play. Despite all this there are some redeeming qualities I guess. MEDIA - It sets a nice, dark, atmospheric mood, if it just didn't have these musicians mucking it up! At least they have horrible British accents because they really are British. ABATTOIRS OF LOVE - What the hell is an abattoir? Oh, I don't really care, the music without the vocals is almost bearable. RAVEN CHORUS (2) - Oh goodness, this song is less terrible, they have a big sound, drum machine sounding drummer here! The vocals are like spoken word poetry at first and are less horrible. Oh, I spoke too soon... "The Raven Chorus Calls!!!!" I guess the Goths who lived out in the boonies with these guys dug it??? By the time Sol Invictus figured out how to play their instruments their style of music would have already been 10 years out of style!!!! THE JOY OF THE WORLD - Almost has a Joy Division sound but by 1988 Joy Division was New Order and not playing cliched, derivative music. They were playing great original music. At least there are no vocals on this one. Therefore it's maybe my fave track?! OK, so unless you're a fan of their later work and you just have to get the early stuff, there is no way I could recommend this CD. The packaging is cool and it's nice they made the effort to clean up these old recordings, but really!!?!

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Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher

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