Tuesday 15 January 2013

In Solitude - "In Solitude" Re-Issue (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length (Re-issue)
Date Released: 25/1/2013
Label: Season of Mist


Overall, “In Solitude” is a very strong debut. It doesn't quite have the vibe and creepy feel of its successor but it is much, much better than most metal records you will here this, or any, year.

“In Solitude” CD//DD//LP track Listing
1). In the Darkness
2). Witches Sabbath
3). Kathedral
4). Beyond Is where I Learn
5). 7th Ghost
6). Faceless Mistress
7). Temple of the Unknown
8). The Monolith
9). Hidden Dangers (In the Night) - single version
10) Faceless Mistress - demo version

In Solitude is:

Hornper | Vocals
Niklas Lindström | Guitars
Matte Gustafsson | Guitars
Gottfrid Åhman | Bass
Uno Bruniusson | Drums

The Review

For those unfamiliar with In Solitude, the band is best described as NWOBHM revivalists by way of Mercyful Fate. Sound good? Read on. I first became familiar with them via 2011 “The World, The Flesh, the Devil”, their sophomore record. That record boasted decidedly retro sounds and deft song writing chops. From the opener of this re-issue, “In the Darkness”, all the elements that you would wish for are present and correct. The drums drive but don't thrash and the guitar work intertwines and flows- think Maiden rather than Metallica.

“Witches Sabbath” gallops out of the gates with purpose and utilises the band's now trademark low spoken vocal/sung line call and responses. King Diamond's spirit is channelled to good effect and more Maiden guitar play follows.

“Kathedral” starts with a distinctly Priest flavour as time changes are used and the guitars unify nicely. The vocals of Pelle “Hornper” Åhman work well here and he turns in a great performance showing a nice ethereal quality to his voice along with decent range.  The Priest-esque pace continues with “Beyond Is Where I learn”. The use of the ride cymbal is pure Maiden, as is the guitar interplay again. It is in a strange way refreshing to realise that THIS is heavy metal- plain and simple. There is no real sub genres here- and there certainly wouldn't have been if this really had been released in 1984- there is just pure unadulterated metal goodness.

As “Seventh Ghost” illustrates, there is no aggression for its own sake here- there is energy aplenty and good atmospherics, mind. The heaviness is certainly there, but in a way that existed pre-Slayer/Exodus, when metal took a turn for the nastier. In many ways, this is In Solitude's strength; strong songs and performances wrapped up in a retro styled package without the modern trappings of mindless aggression/extremity.

“Faceless Mistress” uses harmony guitars off the bat and shows that the band can turn up the pace when they want to. Ghostly themes abound as the guitars lock together very nicely.  The chug and melody of Temple Of The Unknown work together well, while drummer Uno Bruniusson shows he is not afraid to roll around the toms- to great effect.

The pure heavy metal continues with “The Monolith” that closes out the album proper in fine style. The mournful aspect of In Solitude's sound is on display here and it adds a melancholy dimension to both their albums that expands their sound and elevates it above other metal revivalists you could probably name.

Two bonus tracks follow; “Hidden Dangers (in the night)” is a welcome addition being as although the sound quality dips a little.  The performance is strong and fiery. Extra songs like this are always welcomed by the listener, I think, as you get that bit more for your money. “Faceless Mistress” (demo version) is the final offering here. It rages out of the speakers with too much echo on the vocal but a really good display of attitude and fire from the band. A bonus track should be just that- something extra for those who have parted with their money to enjoy. The two here fit that bill nicely.

Overall, “In Solitude” is a very strong debut. It doesn't quite have the vibe and creepy feel of its successor but it is much, much better than most metal records you will here this, or any, year. Well worth picking up as an introduction to the band, to complete your collection of In Solitude material or just because you fancy hearing some heavy metal that is well played and well written. Having seen them live, I can confirm that In Solitude are the real deal; good musicians, good writers and good showmen. They are also frighteningly young; and you can't say that is not needed in metal right now!

“In Solitude” can be purchased here

Band info: Facebook