Solstice - _New Dark Age_
(Misanthropy Records, 1998)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
Solstice build their doom metal with plenty of guitar work, a heavy guitar sound and rather unusual clean vocals. It is the combination of these three aspects of their music that will most likely decide whether the listener enjoys it or not. If he does, then _New Dark Age_ provides him with over an hour of music and several songs around the ten minute mark. Although I usually like long songs with interesting complex structures, most of Solstice's song structures aren't very interesting (they're definitely not Opeth), and therefore some of the songs are a bit too long for their own good; however, this doesn't tend to become too much of a problem, either, just a relatively minor fault. Their sound, like I mentioned above, is based upon heavy guitars and a lot of more technical work as well (no keyboards are ever used), the result depending a lot on the specific song. The guitar work can get really good (in "Alchemiculte", for example), but then it can also enter some unremarkable sections during these long songs. The clean vocals definitely aren't for everyone's taste, and, although they generally seem technically correct, they could have suited the music better. In fact, there are several acoustic and/or folk-inspired songs in the album; two of these have vocals, and they suit these songs better than they suit the "normal" ones. Nevertheless, this is still a reasonably good album, especially for those who tend to enjoy most kinds of clean vocals.

(article published 1/16/1999)


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