Review: Chris Wicked – ‘Aleine’ (darkwave/alt/neofolk)

Bergen, Norway isn’t exactly known for pure and original sounding music that blends darkwave, alternative rock, neo-folk and then some. Mostly it’s a home to many artists in the black metal field. Nevertheless, it’s home to today’s artist, Chris Wicked.

Chris hasn’t completely abandoned the black metal world, however, as his album has appearances from members of Gorgoroth, Taake, Helheim, Gaahl’s Wyrd and Shining though like you’ve never heard them before.

‘Aleine’ is sung completely in Norwegian though that makes no difference when it comes to the power of the music and the power and purity are definitely present. It’s impossible to classify Chris’s style. But he at times blends elements of darkwave, alt rock, new wave and even neofolk. His voice is excellent and emotionally powerful and occasionally resembles the delicacy mastered by Sopor Aeternus.

Each of the seven tracks on this release are quite different from each other. Yet in spite of that and the fact the album is song in a language most likely not known by the majority of Chris’s listeners, they all feel like they are part of the same story or chapter. The juxtaposition of diversity and unity in the album makes me wonder where Chris is going to go next with the next release. There’s a feeling about the music – an uplifting sense, a “looking forward” vibe that compliments that sentiment as well.

I especially enjoyed the closing track, “Bergen, Bergen”. It’s a fantastic and reflective closer. The track allows Chris’s vocals and acoustic guitar to take center stage” and gives the closing of the album a reflective energy and a sense of purity often seen in some of the solo folk singers from the 60s and 70s, but with great production as well.

I’d highly recommend this album for fans of post punk, neo folk and darkwave music. But I would also encourage die hard black metal fans to check this out and see what kinds of things a few of their musicians are capable of outside of the black metal realm.

Available on vinyl LP, CD and digital formats.


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