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Solitude Aeturnus - Hour Of Despair (-/10) - USA - 2009

Genre: Doom Metal
Label: Metal Mind Records
Playing time: 68:55
Band homepage: Solitude Aeturnus

Tracklist:

  1. Scent Of Death
  2. Haunting The Obscure
  3. Mental Pictures
  4. Destiny Falls To Ruin
  5. Sightless
  6. 9th Day: Awakening
  7. Phantoms
  8. Is There
  9. Pawns Of Anger
  10. Waiting For The Light
  11. Days Of Prayer
  12. Falling

For many years SOLITUDE AETURNUS have been among the spearhead of the international Epic Doom Metal scene and despite having been around for 23 years now, with six full-length albums (even though there has only been one in the last 12 years), there had been no live document of their intense concerts, Polish live production specialists Metal Mind changed that last year with the 70-minute cut titled “Hour Of Despair”, which shows the Texans in full Doom glory, spanning five of the six albums (“Beyond The Crimson Horizon” for some reason was completely omitted), with “Through The Darkest Hour” and “Alone” being the most featured with four tracks each.

 

Also released as a DVD (which I do not have), you have to approach “Hour Of Despair” without too high expectations. Why you ask? Well, Doom live is a tricky thing, so you will not find any wild stage antics, over-the-top crowd interaction or a dynamic mix between fast and slow and anything in-between, for that this genre is too “limited” (not meant in a negative sense), as it lives so much off its atmosphere and density and this is where the greats excel and without a doubt SOLITUDE AETURNUS are part of this elite and even more so with Robert Lowe as frontman, clad in a priest’s frock and with plenty of charisma (even though some of that obviously is lost on CD, but you catch my drift), who can convey all the despair and emotions through his foreboding delivery.

 

Now the songs all are among the classics of epic Doom Metal (just listen to the divine “9th Day: Awakening”...!), slow, melancholic, with haunting melodies and dense atmosphere, borne by the unique vocal performance of Lowe and still with enough dynamics to keep you from nodding off, in good sound quality and a very nice flow throughout the whole album, making “Hour Of Despair” a worthy live legacy of a band that is unfortunately under-representing itself, as I am sure many genre fans would like to hear a little bit more than an album every eight years, so guys, you’re already halfway to that mark again, make it happen!

(Online April 23, 2010)

Alexander Melzer



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