ALBUM: Solution .45 – Nightmares In The Waking State, Part 1
November 20th, 2015
With a collective CV of bands such as Scar Symmetry, Miseration, and Stratovarius, the pedigree of Swedish melo-death supergroup Solution .45 is pretty high. After forming through guitarist Jani Stefanovic and ex-Scar Symmetry vocalist Christian Älvestam back in 2007, the band have just the one release to their name; 2010’s masterful ‘For Aeons Past’.
Issues around line-up changes and scheduling arrangements meant that there was a four year wait until news was released that a new record was being worked on. Due to the length of time taken over the writing process and the resulting influx of ideas, the outcome will be a double album, entitled ‘Nightmares Of The Waking State’. The album will be released over the course of a year, the first part being released in November 2015.
The album starts at a lightning pace in full death metal mode, with thrashy guitars relentlessly trading with Älvestam‘s guttural vocals. Lead single, ‘Perfecting The Void’, showcases a hook-laden clean chorus that was hugely prevalent on the band’s debut album, inciting the mind to react between groovy guitar riffs and sweeping melodies.
As one of the genre’s undisputed heavyweights of connecting harsh-to-clean-to-harsh vocals, this theme continues through ‘Bleed Heavens Dry’, albeit at a vastly reduced pace, and ‘Winning Where Losing Is All’, which contains a saccharine chorus against a backdrop of superbly emotive and technical guitar riffs.
Token ballad ‘In Moments Of Despair’ tones down proceedings to a slumbering crawl before the next couple of tracks ramp up the intensity to near frenetic levels. The melodic chorus breaks and sporadic flourishes of electronica throughout the mid-section of the album show that, while this band will be largely compared to Scar Symmetry/Soilwork, there’s still plenty of originality within the arrangements.
Towards the end of the album, there are elements of repetition in some of the staccato riffs underpinning a thought of the band playing relatively safe. But, a show stopping vocal performance from Älvestam coupled with some decent progressive nuances keeps the listener engaged, consistently steering the sonics through massive ranges. ‘Wield The Scepter’ is reminiscent of an Eastern video game soundtrack with a pacey rhythm section broken in half by a grandiose twin guitar solo that bleeds harmony.
To close the album, ‘I, Nemesis’ is an eleven and a half minute epic composition, gradually building ferocity through its doomy guitar riffs and extreme low end vocals. For a track of this nature after an already lengthy 48 minutes, the album as a whole is an interesting proposition to go through in one sitting. However, there’s still plenty to get your ears around, factoring progressive guitar interplay with clean vocals that soar skywards in short bursts. The track steamrolls through its duration by being thoroughly engaging, captivating its audience right up to the final minute where a simmering finale reduces to a conclusion.
If you liked what you heard on debut record ‘For Aeons Past’, then you will lap up the material on offer here. There’s a case for saying that this is more of the same, although that can also be counteracted by the increased levels of progressiveness and anger that underpins this album. With the release of part two scheduled for some time in 2016 and the threat of a UK and European tour to promote the album, things are looking incredibly promising in the Solution .45 camp right now.
Written by Neil Criddle