A one-man Power Metal project is not something that you find very often, if you had never stumbled over one, give SOULITUDE a try, the solo project of VALHALLA guitarist Jevo, out of Basque metropolis Bilbao. Now to just say Power Metal does not do his debut “The Crawlian Supremacy” justice, as we get more than just that, some Death Metal vocals, a few light electronics, different atmospheres and here and there a few more modern touches to spice things up. What sounds like a potential hodge-podge of different sounds and bits and pieces now, though, is one of the most original pieces of Power Metal conceived in the past year or so.
First off we get no less than six different singers on this album, so variety is definitely not a problem, here goes: Gaizka De Artaza (RAZZE), Joel Vitorica “Jowy” (DROWN INSANITY), Javier Navarro “Patxa” (VALHALLA), Lorenzo Mutiozabal "Loren” (ARGORLOK), Richard Villalba (DARK FANTASY) and Itziar Tueros are sharing the mic and this is just one more factor that makes “The Crawlian Supremacy” stand out from the masses of similar sounding bands out there, just don’t ask me, which singer lends his talents to which song…
Anyways, musically Jevo has whipped up some nicely powerful and crunchy tracks that altogether form a Sci-Fi concept and my guess is that the different singers are different characters within the story. The nice thing about “The Crawlian Supremacy” is that even though we get lots of melodies, they never get sappy and thanks to the different influences also manage to stay away from the usual Power Metal standards away from the pomp that many acts rely on so heavily as well as the extreme polish of newer bands such as RIDE THE SKY, for example, keeping things fresh to the listener’s ear. Obviously the use of Death Metal vocals over Power Metal structures and melodies, at times mingled together with a classic Power Metal voice lends the material maybe not uniqueness, but definite originality and even when things get a little more epic in the chorus (see “Menace Of The Universe”), things stay mature and just plainly great! Here and there we also are treated to a little more modern sounds, “Dunes Of Mub’Arass” or “Time For Deliverance” come to mind, but never disturb the flow of the album, instead just adding a nice dimension, and being the lead guitarist that he is, Jevo also has an instrumental on offer, “Solar Ghosts” is a full fledged song, though, not just trying to show off his skills, which is a welcome breath of fresh air as well.
To single out certain songs as highlights is not as easy and obvious as it may seem, as they change with every listen, depending on the mood you are in, but I would have to say that “Menace Of The Universe”, “Solar Ghosts”, “Dawn Of War” and “Time For Deliverance” come back more often than others, plus the good cover version of ACCEPT’s “Fast As A Shark” at the end.
It is a shame that SOULITUDE have not received wider acclaim for their original approach to the genre, but you can download “The Crawlian Supremacy” in its entirety from their site, so you will be able to get a feeling for what they are all about, and a new album apparently is in the works, which I am looking forward to hearing, because if it will be a logical evolution from where we stand now, it might be even more of a killer! Eskerrik asko, Jevo!
(Online October 5, 2007)