Solstheim is a Scottish black metal band formed in 2008. I will be reviewing their latest release titled II.
The first track is the intro track to the album. The track starts with eerie sound samples and an echoing chanting voice and continues that way until the end. If this track sets the mind set for the rest of the album, this will be interesting.
Track two is called The Alchemist. This track starts off by engulfing the listener in an envelope of voice, once the ear has adjusted I start to pick out individual instruments. The intensity is very impressive. The keyboard in the background works very well. I like the guitar phrase 30 seconds in. The muted tones of the background guitar and the drums add a delicate menace under the high buzz of the main guitar distortion. Very cleverly done and well balanced. This track would be an experience to see live. OOO 1.13 guitar bit. I love these little details; this track doesn’t let your mind become complacent. At 1.30 the lead guitar comes in with an atmospheric and impressive guitar solo which adds another dimension to an already saturated plethora of voices. At 2.30 the track changes and the lead guitar becomes more disjointed in rhythm which makes me very uneasy. OOO 4.11 chunky guitar riffs with headbangability a nice way to round off the track.
Track three is Of Sundered Stone of Earth, an interesting title. This track starts off very differently from the last. This track seems to be more about building towards something. Sure enough the rolling steady drum beat leads onto a faster, more dramatic section of the track, again with keyboard in the background. OOO wait go back I love that riff and drum beat at 1.23! Awesome. I love the elevated sound at 2.18 and the change in tempo that follows. I like surprises. The guitar riff at 3.00 is beautiful and calms the blood slightly before the track pounds back into the faster tempo and then changes tempo again at 3.40! The slow chunky riffs work really well with the double kicks. Another tempo change. All these sections are really interesting. This is a thinking track I think.
Precipice of Madness, love the title. I assume it will be suitably maddening. Well now I am just being teased, the track starts off with a few quiet chords of the keyboard. Ah there we go, there is the madness. Fast and brutal. I enjoy it when a more dominant riff comes in at 1.06 and then a more dominant drum beat also. OOOOOOOOFFT 1.25! Fucking right. Love that. Guitar and drums matching an insanely fast beat and then changing and filling around each other in a question and answer session, a wee drum fill. More drum fills. Enjoying the build up here and the eerie haunting keyboard noises. Love the groove at 2.37, epic. What track would be complete without a jizz section at the end at 4.18.
The last track of the album is called Aeon. What a way to start a track! Fast as fuck drum fill, in with the riff, off we go! Nice riff fill 20 seconds in. The vocal harmonies work well. Again, there is so much going on in this track. Interesting groovy section at 2.17. Man your neck would hurt after head banging to his. OOO YES 2.44 ace riff and groove. The track then goes eerie again. Another epic guitar solo at 3.40, I love that guitar tone. This guy is just showing off! Mental.
To be honest I had no idea what to expect. I have seen this band play once and I remember it being a very atmospheric experience and being impressed but this was insane. Very professionally done in my opinion, the composition, the layers of instruments, the endless changes and the overall tightness of the band. A wide range of atmospheres are created in this album. As epic as the new Destruction album I reviewed earlier this year and if that isn’t praise enough I don’t know what is. There is a section after this with some nice key changes. Hah no way 5.13, that’s mad.
Album rating 9 out of 10
2. The Alchemist
3. Of Sundered Stone and Earth
T. Doom – Guitar/Vokillz
K. Vikhen – Artillery
P. Tormentor – Guitar/Backing Vokillz
Z. Nachash – Bass