Solitude Aeturnus

Beyond The Crimson Horizon

Solitude Aeturnus - Beyond The Crimson Horizon ©1992 Roadracer
1. Seeds Of The Desolate
2. Black Castle
3. The Final Sin
4. It Came Upon One Night
5. The Hourglass
6. Beneath The Fading Sun
7. Plague Of Procreation
8. Beyond...

This long suffering doom enthusiast band seems to have spent much of the 90s existing on the peripheral edge of metal. Their sound was essentially a Black Sabbath slow trudge mixed with a bit of a more modern, open sound with early Fates Warning style vocals thrown in for good measure. In other words, either you are already excited about this style or you're simply not going to get into it. The band competently executes on all phases here, with Robert Lowe's vocals soaring overtop the entire way. Most of the music is fairly slow in pacing, much in the same way a band like Candlemass would rumble along. My personal issue is that the band may try hard to be morose, but their music tends to isolate emotive factors from the music. There just seems to be a distant quality to the entire disc that makes it somewhat difficult for me to get into it. But Beyond the Crimson Horizon has a lot to offer fans of the Sabbath slow style and recommendations go towards those folks and no one else.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2000

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Solitude Aeturnus - Alone ©2006 Massacre Records
1. Scent Of Death
2. Waiting For The Light
3. Blessed Be The Dead
4. Sightless
5. Upon Within
6. Burning
7. Is There...
8. Tomorrow's Dead
9. Essence Of Black
10. Embrace / Lucid Destitution

Alone exhibits impressive mastery of classic doom metal. Perhaps one shouldn't expect less from the band that released Beyond the Crimson Horizon and Through the Darkest Hour. But the fact that Solitude Aeturnus have spent the last eight years on hiatus (during which two long-time members left the fold) following two respectable, if unremarkable albums, a fan might be forgiven for losing sight of the band's power and relevance.

Their last release Adagio, is of course not by any means terrible. It indulges in some modest experimentation (some of which is quite interesting -- "The Fall," for example, is a genuinely intriguing Swans-like acoustic track that is weakened by virtue of its sheepish two-minute length) but most disappointingly, the band's progressive as well as classic/epic doom qualities seem faint, at least relative to earlier albums.

What is initially most striking about Alone is the opening eight minute track, "Scent of Death," and its defiant espousal of what (thanks in part to Solitude Aeturnus themselves) is referred to as classic doom metal: a crawling pace punctuated with smart tempo shifts, elaborately constructed and vaguely progressive riffs and arrangements, sonorous singing, and carefully developed vocal melodies. Perez and Lowe, on guitar and vocals respectively, even employ some of the Arabic scales introduced on earlier albums.

This brief description just as easily applies to the rest of the album, and it is one hell of a return to form. Quite simply, some of the band's best material is on Alone. "Waiting For the Light" and "Sightless" demonstrate the band's great facility with mid-paced material, while "Burning" and "Is There…" explore the slow, the ponderous, and the riff-heavy in a manner more fearless than even on the band's earliest records. "Embrace" actually reminds me Down, were they to abandon their proclivity for Southern Rock and dig deeper into their second-generation Sabbath influences. This is a return-to-roots in the most creative way possible.

Robert's Lowe's work is worthy of mention. Although he sounded fine on Adagio, I found his vocal melodies on that album to be underdeveloped and even (on "Personal God" and "Empty Faith") phoned-in. However, in the intervening years he seems to have learned to compose vocal lines more suited to his voice. "Tomorrow's Dead" has the closest thing to an anthemic chorus that band has ever had, but there is evidence throughout the album accomplished, subtle work. Indeed songs of this sort, in the 5-10 minute range, demand it -- and he delivers.

What else? It's good to have them back, and I hope there isn't another eight year wait for the next one.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 03/2007

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