I don’t want to take anything away from the rest of the band but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the only reason this band has been afforded all this attention is because of one Christian Älvestam. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – the man’s vocal talents cannot be denied – but the level of fanboy-dom surrounding the guy is getting on my nerves a bit. Anyway, I digress; how does SOLUTION. 45 stack up to his laundry-list of other musical endeavours?
Quite well, I’d say. But that’s exactly the problem here, given his sterling track-record and talent one really should expect more than merely well. “For Aeons Past” is a solid album in its own right but it continues this curious trend that has developed ever since Älvestam left SCAR SYMMETRY a few years ago – his former band-mates have soldiered on in his absence with a guy who sounds relatively similar, while Älvestam himself has assembled a bunch of other post-SCAR SYMMETRY acts that all basically peddle the same kind of ultra-catchy Melodic Death Metal that the abovementioned band has become known for. All is fine and dandy but bottom line is SCAR SYMMETRY sounded better with Älvestam and he sounded better in said band. After the brilliant “Pitch Black Progress” everything else both parties have put out has been a tad second-rate in my book.
Which brings me back to “For Aeons Past”. This album is a virtual smorgasbord of Melo-Death clichés; you get the dual vocal approach with powerful growling intertwined with almost saccharine crooning, crunchy yet thoroughly melodic riffs, lots of solos, polished keyboard swathes, and a crisp drum sound. There’s nothing on here that is terribly unique but given the talented musicians involved it all adds up to a big barrel of fun. I seriously cannot see any fan of this style not falling in love with fare like “Gravitational Lensing” and “Bladed Vaults” (two typical but oh so fun Melo-Death crackers), the heavier title track (love that no-nonsense opening salvo of riffs), and the darker “Clandestinity Now”. It’s all expertly played and instantly hummable, but truth is that not many of these songs will leave any lasting impression. It’s a blast while you’re listening to it but after a while you’ll be so reminded of the aforementioned “Pitch Black Progress” that you’d probably end up popping that one in your player instead. As far as Älvestam is concerned all roads lead back to that album in my opinion, except for the brilliant TORCHBEARER (where, ironically, his main gig is guitars and not vocals).
Anyway, enough ranting. Fans of this style should invest in SOLUTION. 45 without hesitation. It may not be a modern day classic but it ticks all the requisite Melo-Death boxes with ease and aplomb. Oh, and please take a few seconds to salivate over that awesome cover art...
(Online July 25, 2011)