Pills Against the Ageless Ills

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Solefald's third and (relatively) most straightforward album to date, Pills Against the Ageless Ills is a concept album about two long lost brothers -- a porn filmmaker named Cain (who along the way gets executed for murdering Kurt Cobain) and a monk named Fuck, who winds up going insane and dying in a mental hospital. Setting aside all that, though, this album works fine on a strictly musical/song-by-song basis, not getting bogged down by all the complicated lyrics and subplots. The sound here is a blend of progressive black metal, art rock, and punk elements, kind of like early Cradle of Filth (minus the goth trappings) meets Angel Dust-era Faith No More meets the Sex Pistols, if one can imagine such a combination actually working. At the same time, this album has Solefald's fingerprints all over it, evident in everything from the distinctive dual vocals to the elaborate keyboard orchestrations to the sarcastic lyrics. They fluidly mix together emotive, cleanly sung vocals and raspy black metal-style hisses, and they move with finesse from fierce blasting sections to shuffling mid-tempo metal to chugging punk rock. They have also written some really catchy songs, most notably "Hate Yourself" and "The USA Don't Exist," although there really isn't a weak one in the bunch. The production could have been a little sturdier -- the drums don't come through as powerfully as Lazare Nedland seems to be playing them -- but that is the only quibble to what is overall an excellent effort from a unique band.

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