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Solution .45 - "For Aeons Past" (CD)

Solution .45 - "For Aeons Past" CD cover image

"For Aeons Past" track listing:

1. The Close Beyond
2. Gravitational Lensing
3. Through Night-Kingdomed Gates
4. For Aeons Past
5. Lethean Tears
6. Bladed Vaults
7. Wirethrone
8. On Embered Fields Adust
9. Into Shadow
10. Clandestinity Now

Reviewed by on April 28, 2010

"...ultimately the music gels into an immense conglomerate of heaviness from disparate originators."

Solution .45 has in its ranks members from Miseration, Essence of Sorrow, Scar Symmetry, Hateform, and Sonata Arctica, among others. The eclectic combination of style is clear from the get go, and the stupefying mix never lets up. Think a combination of Korn-style nu-metal, Godsmack-meets-blast-beat rhythms, power metal keys and atmospherics, progressive passages, and thrash guitars in the driver’s seat. Sounds like a huge mess for sure, but these guys pull it off. How? They wrote some good songs, and they play as a team.

The band’s sense of dynamic swells and retreats and their knowledge of how to craft excitement through arrangement is keen. “Gravitational Lensing” turns more corners over five minutes than a taxi cab, each one bringing a new and unexpected element. Combining the multiple genres of the members’ past, the song stays fresh without lingering in any one place too long. The death vocals over progressive power keys movement into a multipart solo and back to a clean break is particularly thrilling.

Much of the anticipation for this album is from former Scar Symmetry vocalist Christian Alvestam handling vocal duties for Solution .45. And he does not disappoint, but also does not overwhelm. While his clean and growled/bellowed deliveries are powerful, he doesn’t take the point as the highest profile member. He instead lets the music lead his vocals, complementing rather than forcing. His clean passages in “Through Night – Kingdomed Gates” play with the rapid riffs and keys seamlessly, and his transition to a brutal growl for the breakdown is startlingly smooth. Featuring a nu-metal breakdown, dissonantly progressive fret runs, and an eastern-tinged outro makes it quite a ride on aggregate as well.

Following Alvestam’s lead, none of the members really stands out individually, and that is ultimately the strength here. Guitarists Jani Stevanovic and Tom Gardiner may get the most attention, but that is due to their searing solos and progressive flights of fancy that are stuck like Easter Eggs in the shrubbery. Rolf Pilve’s drums do suffer from a bit of sterile production but he is steady like a locomotive nonetheless. But the band members advance and recede in lockstep together, every member dedicated to whatever particular mood the music is in at any particular moment.

At times the eclectic modern metal mix does get a bit out of control, usually when the band dwells too long on one idea. The fantastically named “On Embered Fields Adust” unfortunately stays in nu-core form for the entire run and ends up being somewhat bland. And the slower chug of “Bladed Vaults” combined with Alvestam’s bellows and croons doesn’t quite work. The chorus hooks become too sugary on top of the rumble.

The quality of songwriting on “For Aeons Past” comes from the stark combinations of modern metal elements. We want the band to create instantaneous shifts and contrasts, pushing the combinations within songs instead of between them. And we want them to do it together – to be the opposite of the pop star boom. The album closer, an epic sixteen-minute thrash-dirge entitled “Clandestinity Now,” gives breathing room to the otherwise tight compositional style. We aren’t really sure why Solution .45 moves from form to form and mode to mode within the beast; but ultimately the music gels into an immense conglomerate of heaviness from disparate originators, and all we can do is head-bang in approval.

Highs: “Clandestinity Now” is a masterpiece of modern metallic experimentation.

Lows: A handful of songs can’t quite muster the arrangements the eclectic style needs and are ultimately messy.

Bottom line: Another modern metal supergroup, but this time they made a fantastic album by playing together.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)