|Cover art by Brooks Wilson|
Solitude Aeturnus haven't released a new album since 2006. Candlemass released their final studio album in 2012. So if you're a fan of that brand of doom, what do you do? The only answer is, besides lamenting this sad fact, start your own band! Hailing from Philadelphia, PA and featuring members of Trenchrot, Grass, Ashencult, Infiltrator and Hivelords, these five guys have swung for the fences and hit a proverbial grand slam (Holy tired cliché alert Batman).
Right from the opening riff you'll get an 80's flashback, but not in a "hey, let's mimic the past" but a genuine warm and fuzzy feeling of metal that you may have heard when growing up (assuming you're an old fart like myself - hey, yet another unoriginal idiom). It doesn't stay a retro fest either like many acts these days. You can hear the musicians own individual flair interwoven throughout, which helps give the band their own identity.
Let's talk about vocalist, Brooks Wilson. This is his first attempt at these type of soaring clean vocals. Listen and try and wrap your head around that for a minute. How was he not doing this many years ago? Did he suddenly wake up one day and say, "let's try this"? I dunno, I'm just glad he decided to and we get to go along for the ride. Now mind you, he doesn't sound like Messiah Marcolin (who does?) nor Rob Lowe either, He fits the mold of what you want for this type of music but with some added bite. I know that's hardly a profound description but he is his own man and defies drawing a specific comparison to anyone in his field. Original while being traditional enough.
I like the fact that this isn't one dimensional doom either. Sure they have the heavy drawn out majestic parts, but this is also balanced with your uptempo kick you in the nuts, punch you in the face sections. The solos rip, the cymbals crash, the riffs gallop. You can tell this isn't a bunch of rookies trying their hand at what they think is a flavor of the month.
Yes, the current trend with doom bands are the 60-70 minute albums and that's a barrier for some people. But what we have here are 7 songs spaced out over 43 minutes, ranging from 5 to 8 minutes in length, its actually a fairly easy entry point. It also strikes a near perfect balance between giving traditional doom fans what they want (songs that build tension and then erupt) without wasting any needless time. Therein lies what very well may be the true genius of this album.
Frankly I can't recommend this album enough. I'm genuinely excited about what this band can ultimately become, as they will only get better with more time together and the ability to further put their own stamp on this brand of doom.