Solution .45 - For Aeons Past
AFM Records
Melodic Death/Power/Modern/Progressive Metal
10 songs (61:57)
Release year: 0
Solution .45, AFM Records
Reviewed by Thomas
Surprise of the month

Christian Älvestam was an important factor in Scar Symmetry's trickling rise to success and their shining star on a now slightly sparkling melodeath sky. Frustration was imminent when he left, and to be honest I didn't have a clue where he was headed career-wise. I was never much of a Scar Symmetry-fan anyway, but after giving this a great deal of spins I understand what the buzz was all about. Solution .45 is considered a Swedish/Finnish super-group including members from Angel Blake and Essence of Sorrow in addition to the skilled Älvestam. The situation that led to the formation of the band reminds me a little of how Daniel Heiman left Lost Horizon to form the, at first, promising Heed, that however quickly turned to shit. I had a hunch that this would be something for the mallcore-kids when I read the genre tag “modern metal”, but was, quite on the contrary, blown away when I put this on. This is an extremely entertaining blend of melodic death metal, power metal and even progressive metal, brilliantly produced by the experienced and highly skilled Tomas “Plec” Johansson who has also worked with Scar Symmetry and Unmoored among others. Yes it sounds modern, and no it's not particularly re-inventive, but it's damn fun, and I enjoy this much more than I will ever enjoy Scar Symmetry.

Throw the aforementioned Scar Symmetry, Dark Tranquility, hell, even Opeth and Heed in a blender and this is what you'll get. Aggressive, progressive brilliance, that, despite its slightly metalcore moments, comes off as top notch. I can't help but dock them a couple of points for some of the unbearable use of auto-tuning which I thought were reserved for hugely lackluster American christian metalcore bands (Read: Attack Attack). Älvestam has a perfectly appropriate clean voice for this stuff anyway, and I can't for the life of me understand why they used that crap tool in the first place. Luckily however, it's not overused to the extent it could have been, as the Swedish bad boy performs flawlessly throughout the entire album. His growls are maybe the best in the business right now bar maybe only Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. They're ranging from snarling growls, to deep, guttural, almost grunts and like Akerfeldt, he's a fairly talented clean vocalist as well, which he makes sure is used to the fullest just like he's done in several other acts. Backed by thunderous, down-tuned, angry-as-hell guitar work from Jani Stefanovic and Tom Gardiner, contrasts are made, and the sometimes downright beautifully forged melody lines are guarded by chugging, heavy riffs churned out with a crunchy distortion with tons of meat on its bones. Controlled by the power back that is the rhythm-part of the band led by Miseration-drummer Rolf Pilve, the line-up is a complete six-man army (keyboardist Mikko Härkin left shortly before this was released though) that has every right to kick ass, and man do they take advantage of it.

Except the boring and slow, Lethean Tears, most of this is head-on aggressive, melodic and very tasteful stuff. The Close Beyond kicks things off, with the mentioned crushing riffs, Älvestam's trademark mic-handling and mighty drums as well as additional, nice keyboard work which never even comes close to dominating the sound picture. Gravitatinoal Lensing sets out to kill in similar fashion if not slightly faster. However, the first real highlight on this is definitely Through Nights – Kingdomed Gates followed up by the equally brilliant title-track. Even though the vocal lines are bordering on sickeningly catchy, I just can't dislike them in any way. Solution .45 is obviously walking a thin line here though, and other reviewers might just bash this and throw it away for flirting a little too much with metalcore and for being downright poppy at times.

After the rather bland ballad-like Lethean Tears, follows the decent Bladed Vaults. The level has dipped a bit, but is quickly brought through the roof again with the awesomely titled Wirethrone which consists of everything that makes this band great in these ears. The band stomps on with full force and ends with the breathtaking 16-minute epic monster Clandestiny Now. Not a second too long, it's full of contrasts. Brutal vocals, clean, soft vocals, fast, thrashing riffs, backed by appropriate drums, and neat tempo-shifts completes a surprisingly great album from the Swedish/Finnish collaboration.

Even though this isn't top notch all the way through, the good parts is so damn good, sometimes jaw-dropping, and so many that I'm unable to dock them too many points without being unfair. A great effort, that most melodeath enthusiasts should get to know and love. Great stuff, highly recommended.

Killing Songs :
The Close Beyond, Through Nights - Kingdomed Gates, For Aeons Past, Clandestiny Now
Thomas quoted 85 / 100
Alex quoted 62 / 100
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There are 4 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:13 am
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