In Solitude – The World. The Flesh.The Devil

All the talk about In Solitude from Uppsala in Sweden is that they are possibly the heir apparent to the throne of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond and certainly after listening to their new album The World. The Flesh.The Devil, released on Metal Blade Records, there is justification. They frequent the same dark shadowy netherworld, bringing their classic rock influences into a fusion with striking metal and rock nuances; showing there is more than being mere disciples to their sound, proven immediately as the opening  title track lifts off with riffs straight out of The Misfits.

Formed in 2002 their darkened path took them through demos, line-up changes, a well received unnamed debut album, and shows, tours and festivals throughout Europe. The 2010 signing with Metal Blade Records and arriving at the current settled line-up is set to be the sign post in the bands history as they look to emerge as more than contenders and their second album certainly is a fine opening step.

The quintet are tight and creative, their musicianship faultless from the driving drum rhythms and enticing basslines from Uno Bruniusson and Gottfrid Åhman respectively, to the insightful, intriguing, and flowing guitars of Niklas Lindström and Henrik Palm. The imaginative sounds and imagery which the music creates is completed by the soaring tones of vocalist Pelle Åhman. His vocal style is firmly in the Dickinson/King Diamond style though thankfully without resorting to any high sonic squeals and wails, and fits the music perfectly enhancing as well as complimenting.  

The World.The Flesh.The Devil is rippling with fine moments, such as the central pairing of ‘Poisoned, Blessed, and Burned’ and ‘Demons’  both containing great creative and inviting musical instrumental elements midway in their length. The first of the two is like a calling card into the track and album in case the listener has still not committed, it is incisive and siren like, whilst the ‘Demons’ midway turn feels like the escape of controlled but mischievous chaos.

If there is a moan to be given to the album it is of an air of similarity to the songs though that is lifted by the final two tracks. It is not a flaw as such just that one can lose where they are in the album track wise easily if attention is not fully focused. Tracks such as ‘To Her Darkness’ or ‘We Were Never There’ are perfectly satisfying and inviting but there is that familiarity, possibly it can be as much down to the vocals of Åhman as the music. Great as he is and there is no disputing that, his delivery is pretty much uniform throughout every song and sometimes it needs a little variety.

The closing two tracks though show exactly why In Solitude is rightly being doused in impressive praise and comparisons. ‘Dance Of The Adversary’ is a triumphant, visual inducing song at play. Åhman here does shake things up and with the sound from the rolling drums, through the stalking bass, to the teasing guitars and great solo; the track is a mighty joy. The final two minutes though are what takes it to an even higher plateau. The song switches to a sorrowful subdued guitar plea reflecting the band’s name as a feeling of loneliness and separation comes through. Easily it is the best song on the release though it is almost challenged for that accolade by the final epic journey of ‘On Burning Paths’.

The track weighs in at almost fourteen minutes on galloping riffs and refreshing flying guitars, taking many twists and turns, neat detours from its path but all within the map to its destination. Again image inducing and soulfully pleasing the only question is on the length as by the eleventh minute the mind can wander but that is personal more than a flaw. What is not in question is that In Solitude has created a greatly enjoyable album in The World.The Flesh.The Devil and that they are a force to be and right now that deserves close attention.

http://www.myspace.com/insolitudeheavymetal

http://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Solitude/124626001163

Pete RingMaster 03/07/2011

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S.O.S. – I Owe You Nothing

With all the aggression of a pissed off bear comes the hardcore might of S.O.S. and their debut EP I Owe You Nothing. The release is just touching eleven minutes of well thought out and delivered intense attitude loaded quality hard sounds; though with the pedigree of the band it is really no surprise but as history has shown the coming together of heralded musicians from other bands does not always guarantee particularly great results.

The beginnings of S.O.S. were inspired a couple of years back when Terror frontman Scott Vogel and Hatebreed bassist Chris Beattie began talking about the possibilities of creating music together. The seeds grew in to a sturdier reality when former Agnostic Front/Madball guitarist Matt Henderson was brought in, the duo persuading him to be part of a band again after five years away from those demands. The band was completed when Vogel’s Terror comrade drummer Nick Jett and Trapped Under Ice guitarist Sam Trapkin were drafted to join up to the project. The songwriting and creation of the EP was a mutual group effect right down to the smallest detail and with Dean Baltulonis (Desperate Measures, Goes Cube, Freya) at the helm for the recordings production, the outcome is an impressive unleashed powerhouse of hardcore might.

The opening instrumental intro ‘Decontrol’ does not give too much away of what is ahead being a firmly solid slice of controlled driving music. Immediately its successor ‘Keep Me Outside’ explodes with all its angry might and Vogel rips the words from his growling throat, the S.O.S. mission is revealed, to challenge, menace, and entertain, which they do in equal measure.  

Apart from the defiant ‘Never A Brother’ the tracks barely pass the 1 minute 20 mark but the skill of the writing is such that one never feels short changed, the tracks are full and satisfying making the EP’s shortness over seven tracks unimportant. There is also a good consistency throughout and if there is any flaw it is a similarity between tracks, but as I Owe You Nothing is such a solid and appetising release it really is not an issue.

The title track ‘I Owe You Nothing’ is the strongest song; with machine gun drums, grinding riffs, gang vocals, and an erect middle finger it is an anthem and classic to be. Every track is in the face, a statement of intent and attitude but this song leads the way, and a song one just knows will have mass approval and participation at S.O.S. gigs.

    I Owe You Nothing is a definite must listen for all hardcore and punk fans for its intensive riffs and incisive delivery. It may not turn a new page for the genre but S.O.S. show they are one of the leaders of the current flavours whether the members are in this or their other bands.

I Owe You Nothing is out via Good Fight Music

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Pete RingMaster 02/07/2011

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