Sol Invictus is an English neofolk and neoclassical group fronted by Tony Wakeford. Wakeford has been the sole constant member of the group since its inception, although numerous musicians have contributed and collaborated with Wakeford under the Sol Invictus moniker over the years.
Overview[edit | edit source]
After disbanding his controversial project Above the Ruins, Wakeford returned to the music scene with Sol Invictus in 1987. Since then Sol Invictus has had many musician contributions, including Sarah Bradshaw, Nick Hall, Céline Marleix-Bardeau , Nathalie Van Keymeulen, Ian Read and Karl Blake.
Wakeford repeatedly referred to his work as folk noir. Beginning with a mixture of a rough, bleak, primitive post punk sound and acoustic/folk elements, the band's music gradually evolved toward a lush, refined style, picking up classically trained players such as Eric Roger, Matt Howden, and Sally Doherty. In the mid-1990s, Sol Invictus spun off a side project called L'Orchestre Noir (later changed to Orchestra Noir) to explore an even more classically influenced direction. 2005 saw the departure of longtime contributors Roger and Blake, leading to a new line-up including Caroline Jago, Lesley Malone and Andrew King.
In 1990, Wakeford formed his own label, Tursa, to release his material and the music of other artists. The World Serpent Distribution Company previously distributed this material worldwide, followed then by Cold Spring Records. In July 2007, the label was re-launched as a partnership with Israeli producer and musician Reeve "M" Malka. In 2009, Sol Invictus signed to Prophecy Records. In June 2011, Sol Invictus announced the end of their partnership both with Cold Spring Records and musician Andrew King.
Imagery and content[edit | edit source]
The name Sol Invictus, which is Latin for 'the unconquered Sun', derives from the Roman cult of the same name.
The band's imagery and lyrical content, in its early days, was influenced by traditionalism and antipathy towards the modern world and materialism. A superficial interest was the Italian philosopher Julius Evola who Wakeford admits to "shamelessly stealing from" for song titles even though he found his books "unreadable". A more serious influence was the poet Ezra Pound: "I think Pound is one of the greatest poets ever, although some of his work is mind-numbingly obscure. I disagree with his antisemitism but that should not blind people to his worth as an artist."
The band also had considerable interest in heathen and Mithraist themes, often reflecting an explicit antipathy to Christianity: the 1997 album The Blade incorporates an Odinic chant, Gealdor, into its varied laments. Wakeford tended to write from a melancholic position of doomed Romanticism, which lamented the loss of beauty, love, and culture. He saw the American influence on global culture as very damaging to Europe, something he expresses with black humour in the song "Death of the West", from the album of the same name. The later albums have seen a turn to a more personal writing style, as interest in what Wakeford calls "knee-jerk anti-Americanism and anti-Christianity" has been rejected.
Controversy[edit | edit source]
Wakeford's mid-1980s membership in the British National Front and the appearance of a track from his band, Above The Ruins, on the "No Surrender!" compilation released in 1985 by Rock-O-Rama Records, alongside the Nazi groups Skrewdriver and Brutal Attack, has meant that Sol Invictus have been accused of neofascism. Wakeford has responded to this criticism various times, stating that his involvement with the National Front "was probably the worse (sic) decision of my life and one I very much regret", and that various members of his band (including his wife of eight years at the time) "would be at best discriminated against or at worse dead if a far-right party took power" and further that "none of the artists I work with hold such views either, and I doubt they would want to work with me if they thought I did." In June 2011 the band, following attempts to cancel one of their concerts in London, stated that all its members "are personally completely and unequivocally opposed to fascism, racism, anti-semitism and homophobia, [...] and our work makes no attempt to appeal to an audience looking for this kind of message", also stating explicitly that they did not have "any sympathy with national anarchism, or any desire to work with its adherents".
Discography[edit | edit source]
|Year||Title||Format, Special Notes|
|1987||Against the Modern World||Mini-LP|
|1989||In the Jaws of the Serpent||Live LP|
|1989||Lex Talionis||Part of box set with Current 93 and Nurse with Wound|
|1989||Fields||12" with Current 93 and Nurse With Wound|
|1990||Sol Veritas Lux||CD|
|1990||Abattoirs of Love||7"|
|1990||Trees in Winter||CD/LP|
|1991||The Killing Tide||CD/LP|
|1992||Death In June/Current 93/Sol Invictus||Live CD with Death in June and Current 93|
|1992||Looking for Europe||7"|
|1992||The Lamp of the Invisible Light||7" compilation track|
|1992||Somewhere in Europe/See the Dove Fall||7"|
|1992||Let Us Prey||Live CD|
|1992||King & Queen||CD|
|1994||The Death of the West||CD|
|1994||Black Europe||Live CD|
|1995||In the Rain||CD|
|1998||In Europa||Live CD|
|1998||All Things Strange and Rare||Compilation CD|
|1999||In a Garden Green||CD|
|2000||The Hill of Crosses||CD|
|2001||Brugge||Live concert, 1996-02-03|
|2003||The Giddy Whirls of Centuries||Compilation CD|
|2004||The Angel||Compilation CD|
|2005||The Devil's Steed||CD|
|2006||Walking in the Rain on the Ostrow Tumski||Compilation CD|
|2010||The Bad Luck Bird/Stella Maris||7"|
|2011||The Cruellest Month||CD (Studio album)|
|2014||Once Upon a Time||CD (Studio album)|
References[edit | edit source]
- Stewart Home (28 July 2008). DANGER! NEO-FOLK 'MUSICIAN' TONY WAKEFORD OF SOL INVICTUS IS STILL A FASCIST CREEP!. Stewart Home. Stewart Home.
- Sol Invictus Profile. Discogs. Discogs.
- World Serpent Profile. Discogs. Discogs.
- Band's statement on facebook.com.
- Wakeford interview on heimdallr.ch
- Tony Wakeford on Manoeuvres. Who Makes the Nazis?. Who Makes the Nazis? (16 September 2010). Retrieved on August 4, 2012.Template:Verify credibility
- Gary Smith on Manoeuvres. Who Makes the Nazis?. Who Makes the Nazis? (27 September 2010).
- Slimelight Campaigns: Some Clarifications and Questions. Who Makes the Nazis?. Who Makes the Nazis?.
- Letters To Tony Wakeford And Hobgoblin. Stewart Home Society. Stewart Home Society.
- Say NO to Nazi bands in north London!. Love Music, Hate Racism. Love Music, Hate Racism.
- Band's statement on facebook.com. The explanatory sentence The rest of the band have felt uncomfortable regarding some of his outside endeavours and pronouncements, which we were not previously aware of and which have recently come to light. was deleted after a few days.