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Rating:
8.6
Solstice - Death's Crown Is Victory [EP]
18 October 2013


01. Fortress England
02. I Am The Hunter
03. Death's Crown Is Victory
04. Aequinoctium II


Though Solstice technically returned from their brief absence back in 2005, this new EP is the first release of their reunion and the first since their 2001 split with Slough Feg. Now armed with a new bassist, guitarist, and singer, Solstice have released a powerful comeback that sounds almost as though they had never left.

Solstice draws heavily upon classic acts like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, but with the kind of thick, heady guitars and funereally warbling vocals that make their sound unmistakably doom, not simply traditional heavy metal. Their approach, therefore, primarily mixes doom with this more old-fashioned style. Further distinguishing themselves from the pack, they also have an implicit folk tinge which manifests itself in the lofty, bard-ish voice of Paul Kearns (at times following in the footsteps of Morris Ingram's excellent Kevin Heybourne-ish performance on New Dark Age) and gallant, Thin Lizzy-esque passages. While musically Solstice eschew any overt folk tendencies, there is something distinctly medieval and English about them that adds another layer of personality to them - a distinct something which survives on Death's Crown Is Victory.

With occasional batteries of arresting guitar work and frequent use of syncopated, war-like drums, Death's Crown Is Victory remains consistently engaging throughout. Simultaneously mournful and heroic, this EP never tires or loses its edge, making the most out of its overall brevity. As far as doom goes, this release falls on the more uplifting end of the spectrum. It isn't exactly cheery (and what metal band is?), but at the same time it doesn't wallow in desolate misery. The label "epic doom" seems very apt; these songs mainly smack of doom, to be sure, but with a pervasive expansiveness and grandiloquence that transcend any one descriptor.

This is really an album in miniature, rather than a sampler or something to tide over listeners until the next full-length release; this is a journey that is brief but full. While only four songs, Death's Crown Is Victory provides an accurate summation of Solstice's sound and the strength of the reunited band. Though Solstice have been nominally active since 2005, a 12-year gap between releases is nothing to simply shrug off; yet they have not atrophied in that long span of time, and this EP proves that they have the capacity to be as successful as ever.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Solstice
Album: Death's Crown Is Victory


 



Written on 27.04.2014 by
ScreamingSteelUS
I'm only in this for the money, fame, glory, power, and personal satisfaction.

In my spare time, I fight dragon-pig-C.H.U.D.s in space.

I feel obligated to use up all of my allotted space, so... nah, I'm out of stuff to say.
More reviews by ScreamingSteelUS ››



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LascaillesShroud - 27.04.2014 at 20:18  
I did not even know about this release, now I can't wait to listen. Great review and good to know they are still on top of their game after a decade plus.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.04.2014 at 14:59  
Btw, also the drummer is new Only member still in the band who featured on New dark Age is Rich Walker, but then again Solsitce is Rich's brainchild.
R'Vannith - 28.04.2014 at 18:40  
Definitely need to hear this, they had a pretty unique style of doom back on their 90's albums with a lot of character, as you point out. I loosely associate them with DoomSword, although they sound fairly different.

I also haven't heard that split with Slough Feg, something further to add to my list.
ScreamingSteelUS - 28.04.2014 at 18:43  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.04.2014 at 14:59

Btw, also the drummer is new

He is? Our profile of them says that the current drummer was a member of the previous incarnation, though he didn't play on New Dark Age. Perhaps our information isn't up-to-date.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.04.2014 at 19:33  
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 28.04.2014 at 18:43

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.04.2014 at 14:59

Btw, also the drummer is new

He is? Our profile of them says that the current drummer was a member of the previous incarnation, though he didn't play on New Dark Age. Perhaps our information isn't up-to-date.


oud info is extremely outdated. MA's info is totally up to date.
ScreamingSteelUS - 28.04.2014 at 19:42  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.04.2014 at 19:33

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 28.04.2014 at 18:43

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.04.2014 at 14:59

Btw, also the drummer is new

He is? Our profile of them says that the current drummer was a member of the previous incarnation, though he didn't play on New Dark Age. Perhaps our information isn't up-to-date.


oud info is extremely outdated. MA's info is totally up to date.

Well, that's perfectly ironic. I'll get on that immediately. It's a good thing the one member I named is still in the band.
Apothecary - 28.04.2014 at 20:09  
The general style of that album art reminds me a lot of this one. Wonder if they're done by the same guy.
ScreamingSteelUS - 28.04.2014 at 20:12  
Written by Apothecary on 28.04.2014 at 20:09

The general style of that album art reminds me a lot of this one. Wonder if they're done by the same guy.

Funnily enough, that same discussion is on this album's page.
Apothecary - 28.04.2014 at 20:15  
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 28.04.2014 at 20:12

Written by Apothecary on 28.04.2014 at 20:09

The general style of that album art reminds me a lot of this one. Wonder if they're done by the same guy.

Funnily enough, that same discussion is on this album's page.

It's affirmative, Chris Smith of Grey Aria Studio

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