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 The Ultimate Review of Through the...

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Date d'inscription : 26/11/2013
Age : 26

The Ultimate Review of Through the... Empty
MessageSujet: The Ultimate Review of Through the...   The Ultimate Review of Through the... I_icon_minitimeJeu 11 Déc - 12:07

<p id="reviewText_165274">Not all albums are made equal. Some albums rise head and shoulders above others: the strength of their deeds and their souls make them sing out as a clear note of hope, even if they remain undervalued and partially obscure. And since I'm flying cross-continent tomorrow, I thought I should make it clear - in light of my slightly increased chances of meeting with calamity - that 'Through the Darkest Hour' is one of those albums. I have a really special relationship with this guy, because I acquired it at a major turning point in my life, just before I moved out of my parents' house and lived by myself for the first time. It was a lonely and daunting time for many reasons, but heavy metal is a faithful friend and constant companion in our times of need and our times of triumph, and none has been a truer aid to me than Solitude Aeturnus.<br />
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Fans of Candlemass should need no encouragement to pick up a Solitude Aeturnus album (if only they weren't so damn expensive in the UK!), since the trademark soaring vocals and epic songs will be instantly familiar, if imbued with unexpected flavours and subtlety. Indeed, Rob Lowe would later become singer for both bands for a couple of albums. This kind of epic doom takes a slightly different route though: Lowe doesn't have the amazing power of a singer like Messiah, though his voice is capable of some astounding feats of its own; the instrumentalists don't play in such a dramatic way either, though their performances are all hard to fault. The big difference between these two great bands is that Solitude Aeturnus never sound cheesy or cliched. No one plays in a certain way to achieve an effect on the listener: there is a mood and an idea, from which the songs seem to flow.<br />
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Any song from this album is an exercise in effortless economy and seamless songwriting, but let's take 'The 9th Day: Awakening' for a moment to assess how this all works. The riffs aren't complex: the main riff stomps and lumbers on an easy groove, while Lowe narrates a few verses; the main riff fits the very simple refrain of "No tomorrow, no tomorrow", before the slower, more engulfing chorus towers up; a guitar melody flows directly out from the chorus, which a sitar effortlessly accompanies, the bass picking around the high notes until all the instruments swell back up into the verse riff and the song revolves again. The pace is never too slow but the band are never rushed, the whole thing rolling along with the same ceaseless regularity as the waves breaking on the shore, and with the same elemental power.<br />
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The whole album goes by with this laid back feeling to it. That doesn't mean that the band aren't catching your attention, but rather that nothing sticks out on its own - everything is connected. The mix gives everyone their own space and provides a slight distance from the action (as opposed to a very in-your-face mix on Candlemass's 'Tales of Creation') that means the elegantly grooving riffs can either be cause for a headbang or an embrace. The emotion of the songs doesn't preclude the ability to enjoy them, which explains why I've been able to listen to this album while getting ready for a night out and during a dark night of the soul. Like all the best doom metal, every riff and lyric on this album will spark associations and memories beyond "this sounds a bit like Sabbath", through which lies the pathway to another world.<br />
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There is a tiny snatch of the solo in 'Haunting the Obscure' (between 3:13 and 3:17) that sums up my recollection of an entire summer - activities, locations, emotions - because those notes are so evocative of <i>something</i>. It's my favourite song on the album, partly due to that special moment, but there is very little to find fault with in any of the songs. 'The 8th Day: Mourning' is lacking in any spectacular outstanding features, 'Perfect Insanity' is perhaps the most disjointed number on here, and the epic closer creeps almost too slowly, though stood up next to the best songs from any other album they would hardly struggle to compete. All of the songs are memorable, exhibit nuances in style, and show such attention to detail in both music and lyrics (I rate the lyrics very highly indeed) that they leave no obvious cracks in the album's armour.<br />
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Listening to the keening, desperate vocals on the chorus of 'Eternal' shows how this album is both amazing in moments and yet somehow still more than the sum of its parts. It's unfair really, because Solitude Aeturnus make no great show of being a spectacular band, but they managed to produce something magic on 'Through the Darkest Hour', which is suitable for that darkest hour of which it speaks...and the next...and the next. If anything happens on my journey tomorrow, I will know that help is close at hand.</p>
<p>Final Score: 62 / 100</p>
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