Sol Lucet Omnibus - A Tribute To Sol Invictus -
2xCD - 24 tracks - Cynfeirdd - 2002

Sol Lucet Omnibus means in English: The Sun Shines on Everyone, and indeed it does shine on everyone who lent them his ears, for 15 years now, since the unequaled neo-folk act Sol Invictus formed in 1987. At last, the Tribute-Sampler to the this shining act has arrived, split into two CDs on which 24 more or less well-known artists give their best to deliver the appropiate versions of classic Sol Invictus songs (only Sol material is covered, no solo tracks by Wakeford). For example, this compilation easily manages to outdo the Tribute-to-Death-In-June-sampler -which was rather poor for that matter. High points of this double-CD undoubtedly are the contributions by
Gae Bolg & The Church Of Fand, Kirlian Camera and a band named XIII.
Gae Bolg definitively deliever the most amusing version of Death of the West (which rather is a Death In June-Song) one can imagine. Combining a catchy and powerful melody somewhat reminiscent of Laibach with a dance-rhythm in the background they succeed in adding a satirical quality to this piece that actually plays like a film sound-track for the noddy apocalypse. On the other hand, Kirlian Camera turn Looking for Europe in a gloomy techno track which is way darker than the original yet manages to capture its unique atmosphere. At the end of disc one, XIII surprise us with an epic yet never boring version of Black Easter that even lyrically references to the song Lex Talionis on the album of the same name.
Other contributions worth listening to are: Kneel to the Cross by Agalloch who transform this rather slow-moving song into a danceable mixture of folk, doom-metal and goth-rock (I was surprised myself!); the very threatening version of Against the modern world by a band named Westwind that moves along dark and almost noisy; Tears and Rain by American dark-ambient specialist Tor Lundvall which hasn't got much in common with the original; and The Raven Banner by Andrew King which gently glides into The Raven Chorus. Most of the other tracks suffer from the usual lack of originality - which, by the way, doesn't mean they aren't nice listening to. Oraison for example do a good job in terms of pomp and in translating part of the Fields-lyrics into French, and The Blue Hour turn Lex Talionis, which is originally rather aggressive, into an exceptionally doomy track, but most of the other interpreters either don't dare to alter the material and choose just to go along with the original, or overload originally minimalistic songs with too much melodramatic accessories, e.g. Whilst Angels Watch. However, the only real low-downs of this compilation - in my opinion - are the insulting barrel-organ version of In Days to Come by Spiritual Front and The Killing Tide covered by Sleeping Pictures. The singer's squeaking whimpy voice really made me shudder.
A worthy compilation, after all, if you're a Sol-fan, give it a try! The limited version of this sampler also contained a bonus MCD with contributions by Gae Bolg - related Seven Pines and Datura which I haven't heard yet.

Dirk A.
Autumn 2002



Disc One: Oraison - Fields, Dies Natalis - Media, Naevus - Oh what Fun, Gae Bolg & the Church of Fand - Death of the West, One for Jude - Edward, Sieben - Amongst the Ruins, Hide and Seek - Come the Morning, Neutral - Sheath and Knife, While Angels Watch - Heroes Day, Anima In Fiame - The Sawney Bean, Pilori - A Ship is burning, XIII - Back Easter
Disc Two: Tor Lundvall - Tears and Rain, Shining Vril - Blood against Gold, Orchis - The Fool, Scivias - Tooth and Claw, Sleeping Pictures - The Killing Tide, Othila - The Return, Westwind - Against the modern World, Agalloch - Kneel to the Cross, Spiritual Front - In Days to come, The Blue Hour - Lex Talionis, Kirlian Camera - Looking for Europe, Andrew King - The Raven Banner