"I actually found Carving an Icon quite the retroactively blind purchase, suspiciously ironic since I had been tracking this project for quite a while and assumed I knew what to expect from Morfeus in regards to his avant-garde songwriting and abstruse, distinctive approach to the axes. From this isolated point of view, his sonic handprint is indeed all over Viper Solfa, making the unreasonably long wait for Dimension F3H’s This Mechanical World somewhat easier to mitigate since the dude has at least kept the old creative mind juiced as ever. What I wasn’t quite able to ready myself for was the remaining contributions, hardly something to just gloss over, as Viper Solfa is presented as something of a “supergroup” after all as opposed to a mere side-project.Ronny Thorsen supposedly leads Viper Solfa for all formal intents and purposes, the proclivity for many a conflagration granted by his burly speaking timbre and rousing death roars is a concerted force to be reckoned with. It can be argued that he is just another head in the pack, hardly boasting the standalone merit to turn one’s knees to jelly, but Viper Solfa isn’t done yet. The centrepiece of the band isn’t actually Thorsen, but Miriam Renvåg, whose swaying, affecting timbre opens doors unexpected for the band both conceptually and stylistically. So while I can’t feign shock now, I do recall bemused skepticism at the introduction of such audaciously disparate factors. Renvåg’s voice is very sleek and refined, with an almost pop-caliber cadre of appeals that land Viper Solfa closer to bands such as earlier Sirenia once the vocal trade-off between Thorsen is taken into account. It isn’t what I expected, having come into this project for Morfeus alone, but I certainly applaud Viper Solfa for attempting to merge sodden, opaque, death growls with avant-garde female vocal idiosyncrasy.With nearly all preconceptions espoused by this point, and with Renvåg’s quivering and psychedelic banshee wails taking their mental toll, I realized that there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between Dimension F3H and Viper Solfa. Symphonics are used sparingly and as punctuation as opposed to the primary arsenal. Morfeus is basically the main songwriter here, and he is still shipping out crunchers of high order in the modern black/death format he began employing in earnest on Legacy of Evil during his waning years with Limbonic Art. In fact, the hard-lined, basal distortion sounds very similar to that record, and as the rollicking, flighty webbing of tremolos grow thicker and denser, Carving an Icon hammers out a welcoming mat to the most unexpected clientele.This ends up being the album’s tripping point, however, as far too much time is spent grooming vocal melodies that sound almost shoehorned in just for the sake of keeping the singers occupied. Thorsen’s petulant rasp gets one-upped by Renvåg’s (sometimes sorely overacted) caterwauling, and the end result borders on the monotonous more often than it should. The band still makes a good show of their missteps, what with a dense, abysmal grandeur pervading the nether reaches of what is honestly a relatively compact and easy listen on the whole, but these shortcomings remain. Carving an Icon may not be a masterpiece, or even the best outlet for all of the talents involved, but I can promise that it sounds like absolutely nothing you have heard lately, or likely will in the near future. At the end of the day, a neat project that delivered at least a few truly lethal numbers like “Whispers and Storms,” “Deranged” and most notably the floods of choppy, aggrandized viscera that embody the aptly-titled “Vulture Kingdom.” My expectations are not in line with the norm due to my familiarity with Morfeus’ back-catalogue, so take of this what you will, but Carving an Icon got more than a few spins out of me."