The Swedish Melodic Death Metal band SOLUTION .45 have released their first full-length album, “For Aeons Past”, but these guys are no newcomers on the Metal stages. The band contains a few familiar names from bands in the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene. The most well-known is probably vocalist Christian Älvestam (SCAR SYMMETRY and many other bands). So, this is Melodic Death Metal. What does that mean here? Well, the sound is relatively typical of the Gothenburg subgenre, but the tools with which SOLUTION .45 reach the “Melodic” in Melodic Death Metal are their own. Instead of including long softer parts like many other bands and alter the guitars a lot, the effect is mainly reached through a polished production and the caressing singing of Älvestam. If the guitars are different here, they may sound a tad more electronic than what I am used to.
Christian Älvestam does a great job of alternating between aggressive, yet controlled, Death growling and soft, almost tender, clean vocals. That singing feels unique in this context, but it works really well in many places and adds another dimension to the vocals. Behind this, the guitar melodies are nice and the keyboards lines are mostly used with care. The drumming and basswork are both definitely able to fill their roles on the album and back the melody department up with a solid foundation. Altogether, there is much skill in the combination of aggression, heaviness and melody found here.
So, what is the downside? Well, sometimes the album feels too well done. The production feels too polished at times, which takes away some of the otherwise well-kept aggressiveness of the record. Especially the guitars don’t get to roar a lot and that is something that I miss on a CD branded with Death Metal. Many of the songs are also a bit too similar. That can be blamed on both the production and the song-writing. They fall into a pattern where Älvestam goes back and forth between his two vocal styles over verses and choruses of the same type. Repetitiveness always shines through more on a record like this one, on which fierceness and drive forward aren’t the fundaments.
This does not drag the album down particularly deep though, because there are enough memorable moments to keep me satisfied. The highlights include the cheesy, but catchy and nice, Melodic Metal ballad “Lethean Tears”, the grand “Into Shadows” and the straightforward opener “The Close Beyond”. Best of all is the well-written and diverse “Wirethrone”. Melodic Death Metal fans should get this, as they will not be disappointed.
(Online September 1, 2010)