On first listen, I found Porto, Portugal’s Sollar to be unique in several ways, but also very impressive, uplifting, even triumphant. The prog metal stalwart listener will know what I mean when they hear Translucent. I am beyond impressed. Normally I don’t know that I’d gush on and on about a European prog metal act with wonderfully strong female vocals or a band with Cookie Monster death metal growlies over the top of some sick-as-hell prog metal. Rest assured, friends, there is reason for my gushing. Sollar are both! Translucent features both. If you think I am lying, all you need do is listen. Go over to Bandcamp now and stream away! Ah, and while you are there, do them all a favor and buy this record! If you favor prog rock or prog metal, and we know you wouldn’t be reading this review if you didn’t – then do yourself a favor. Buy Translucent now and get on board.
Birth is one of the most powerful openers that I’ve heard in some time. Some incredibly strong vocals here, as is the case throughout. As my regular readers know, I prefer straight, clean vocals over death metal growls. However, I can appreciate a good growl, as I try to perfect it occasionally during karaoke at my local watering hole! Of course, my growls are nowhere near as good as these! Listen on, dear reader. I love the titles, by the way.
See is up next, and I’m starting to notice a pattern here. The tunes are excellent musically. If they could develop them further, I would be interested, but they sound just fine there. Lots of ground is being covered. There are lead guitar solos aplenty, on all of the songs for the most part. Red features another great lead guitar solo. There is also some very dynamic drumming, particularly on Naked. Royal Flush may be the shortest number, but do not dismiss it!
The Image of Man features some heavy riffage, a spoken word bit and a middle section where vocal styles swap back and forth. The title track has big riffs and big drums. Big everything, now that I mention it! Primal features more big muscular metal riffing and a psych, trippy mid-section. It also features some wickedly strong clean vocals and lots of BASS!
Outburst is a tune in the classic journeyman/storyteller mode that I often speak of. Some strumming gives way to a big kick in at about the two-and-a-half minute mark. Closing monster The Right Men is a bit mellow, with an excellent lead at about again the two-and-a-half minute spot. This one is leaning heavily towards storyteller mode again.
I will be brief. Trust me, that is difficult for this particular writer. I am one of the most verbose people you would ever care to meet. I’m not just saying this because their lead singer is a woman. Get on board with Sollar. You will not regret it, especially if you are a big prog metal head like I like to think I am!
5. Royal Flush
6. The Image of Man
10. The Right Men
Playing Time: 55 minutes 35 seconds
Mary Ann Azevedo - Vocals
Vitor Braga - Guitar
André Ribeiro - Guitar
Eduardo Sinatra - Drums
Diogo Vidinha - Bass