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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Album Of The Day-Solitude Aeturnus-"Alone" (2006)

The Album Of The Day is "Alone" by Solitude Aeturnus.

During a time when U.S. based metal labels were all searching for the next meaner, faster, more extreme band, Arlington, Texas’ Solitude Aeturnus decided to go the much less hip doom route. This left the band with very little (and often no) label support when trying to get themselves heard by fans Stateside, and also made it quite difficult to even find their albums in record stores throughout much of the 90’s (which still seems to be an issue today). But the band’s devotion to their craft far eclipsed any roadblocks thrown their way by record labels, and eventually their perseverance paid off with growing support outside the United States. Over time, word began to spread about the monumental doom being forged by the five young Texans, and thanks in a large part to the wondrous World Wide Web, the band’s material eventually became a little easier to come by. The end of this year marks the 20th anniversary (!) for the Solitude Aeturnus crew, and now it’s actually difficult to find a doom fan whose life hasn’t been touched by this remarkable band in some way. Friends, the wait is finally over...after eight long years of silence, Alone has FINALLY arrived.

Considering how long the band has spent nearly shrouded in mystery here in the U.S., I’m gonna start things off by giving you an idea of how their sound has morphed over the years. For those not already privy, Solitude Aeturnus play a brand of doom steeped in the tradition of obvious bands such as Sabbath, Pentagram, and Witchfinder General, but they’re most often compared to Sweden’s Candlemass - a fair analogy, considering both bands' heavy reliance on pounding riffs, ripping leads, and extremely distinctive, grandiose vocals. However, after spending some solid time digging deeper into Solitude’s material, one can hear a multitude of other influences peppering the band’s doom as well. For example, very early Fates Warning abounded on their first two records, especially the slightly speedier Beyond the Crimson Horizon. Mid-era material, such as 1994’s amazing Through the Darkest Hour, found the band slowing things down, dirtying up the vocals, and completely bludgeoning folks with a guitar and bass tone damn-near along the lines of a Bolt Thrower grind. Their last release, 1998’s Adagio, featured a more polished sound, and infused some psychedelic elements into the guitar work, along with some of Lowe’s most experimental vocals to date. But no matter what flavorings the band chose to infuse into each subsequent release, all their material has been rooted in a solid nucleus of meticulously crafted songs wrapped in heavy doom riffs, bubbling leads, and insanely catchy choruses, and their latest is certainly no different.

In its simplest form, Alone sounds like a logical progression from ‘98’s Adagio. The production is still crisp and clean, allowing the listener to focus on any player at any given time, and when you have a band that so painstakingly crafts each member's contribution to each song, this really adds to the longevity of the record as new elements bubble forth during repeated listens (and trust me, folks, you will be repeatedly listening to this record). The new rhythm section of James Martin and Steve Nichols fits seamlessly into the mix, and Steve Moseley’s switch from bass to second guitarist makes it sound as if the man was born to do the job Edgar Rivera sadly decided to leave behind in 2001. (Read more)

*Review courtesy of Michael Wuensch-MetalReview.com


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