Sol Invictus – The Devil`s Steed

A new studio album by Sol Invictus, for the first time on the German Dark Vinyl label. That’s not the only change since the previous album “Thrones”, since Matt Howden and Sall Doherty are not present in the line-up. But longtime regulars Karl Blake (bass) and Eric Roger (trumpet), as well as Renée Rosen (violin), Maria Vellanz (violin) and Gary Parsons (guitar percussion) are there to support Tony Wakeford.

Already after only a few minutes this album sounds familiar, if you’ve followed the band a bit through the years. You could perhaps call this the Sol Invictus oldschool, down-to-earth gritty folk sound, in the line of an albums like ‘The Killing Tide’. Less experimental and varied than the last few albums, but a focused, solid piece of work. A few songs are taken from traditional folkore pieces, including the title track, which is a Russian tale about suicide. In general this album is pretty grim and bleak, look alone at song titles as ‘We are the dead men’, ‘Old London weeps’ and ‘Oh death come close my eyes’.

Nice to hear are the traditionals ‘There did three knights came from the west’, which you will quickly sing along to, and ‘Twa Corbies’, a rather robust piece which could have een included on “The Blade”. Apart from traditional folk pieces there also some nice atmospheric tracks with classical influences, like the threatening instrumental ‘Oh death come close my eyes’. Quite tracks manage to move me with a melancholic feeling, like ‘The Edge Beckons’ or ‘The North Ship’, based on a poem by Philip Larkin. Certainly not a revolutionary album, but a consistent body of work with a dark sound, a nostalgic atmosphere and a high overall quality.

As the shadows fall
As the day is done
Let the clocks wind down
Let the bells be rung.

artist: Sol Invictus
label: Dark Vinyl
details: 14 tracks, 60 min. [DV50]