Solstice is a doom band that has completely passed me by in my years of listening to metal, and now I learn why. Drudgery incarnate, this re-release of the 1999 album ‘New Dark Age’ is quite a hardship to listen to an end. Somehow, they manage to weave in some kind of court jester happiness into parts of their songs, which to me is as askew as Adam Sandler in a good movie.
Not all is completely amiss though. Some riffs follow a path trodden by My Dying Bride, in this case unoriginal as hell, but still nice. The guitar sound packs a punch in the lower Hertz range, somewhat picturing what doom to me should be like – dark and heavy. The problem is that every time I think ‘Oh, maybe I’m being too harsh’ they revert back to some awfully happy riffs punctuated by an expressionless clean vocal. In fact, the vocals sound distinctly false sometimes.
I guess this could be interesting for people into The New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Candlemass or other such doomy, old stuff. I’m certainly not impressed, even taken the 8 years since release into account. As such, Solstice doesn’t live up to the 50 point standard, which for me is ‘Boring, but listenable – if I have to’
Personally, I think doom metal should be depressing, brooding and heavy as hell, turn loose the swans, please. Better luck next time guys… Oh wait, they split up, the standards are set in stone.