Solstice

Death's Crown is Victory EP

Written by: EW on 03/02/2014 12:07:09

Having endeavoured to approach every band hailed in Reverend Bizarre's epic "Goddess of Doom" track since first laying ears on it years ago, it has somehow been Britain's own Solstice to remain one of the few yet to find a place in my heart. This is odd, for both their national heritage and genre - epic doom - could hardly be better suited to my tastes, but whereas my experiences with their 1994 debut album "Lamentations" have largely been unsuccessful, the repeated spins of their new EP "Death's Crown Is Victory" are hitting the spot a great deal more. Incredibly their first new material since 1998, this EP is a declaration of more to come from founder member Rich Walker and his cohorts, which when considering the strength and glory of the two tracks proper - "I Am The Hunter" and "Death's Crown Is Victory" - is a very good thing indeed.

Peddling a more upbeat, victorious style in the vein of Argus, Grand Magus and Doomsword, Solstice only really touch the edges of doom metal in the title track for the remainder is a declaration of renewed focus and spirit with no time for morose sensationalism. The two aforementioned tracks, both in the 9-minute bracket, are bookended by 3-minute instrumental pieces "Fortress England" and "Aequinoctium II" - the former utilising subtle atmospherics to build tension while the latter is a more penitent riff-based comedown, although neither add nearly as much as the meat in this sandwich. "I Am The Hunter" is built from a classic metal template with the rising intonation in the riffs at every quarter recalling Maiden by way of Argus. The deep, manly vocals of Paul Kearns also go some way to recalling the work of Butch Balich on Argus' spectacular last year. Kearn's energetic performance is just the icing on the cake of the excellent soloing and variance of tempos that like the title track seem much shorter than is really the case. That one travels through epic Doomsword territory both in style and guitar tonality early on before moving into a powerful, Manowar-esque rhythm riff in a spectacular fist-pumping epic. Infact, it is the kind of track Manowar could well do with writing once again should the day ever come when Joey DeMaio can separate his head from his own arse.

"Death's Crown Is Victory" is really best judged as a sign of things to come rather than a release in its own rights and on the strength of these two epic tracks the signs are very promising. The unflattering instrumentals add little but my appetite is suitably whetted for the main course.

8

Download: I Am The Hunter, Death's Crown Is Victory
For The Fans Of: Argus, Doomsword, Manowar, Grand Magus, Slough Feg
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.10.2013
White Horse Records



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