April 10, 2010

Album Review: "For Aeons Past" by Solution .45

Christian Älvestam is a master when it comes to being involved in multiple projects. Even before his departure from Scar Symmetry in 2008, Älvestam was already part of three other projects with multi-instrumentalist Jani Stefanović (known throughout the worldwide Christian metal scene for his work in DivineFire, Essence of Sorrow, and several other bands spanning multiple genres). These bands would become Älvestam's primary focus after his break from Scar Symmetry. Death metal act Miseration successfully released their sophomore effort The Mirroring Shadow on Lifeforce Records in 2009, and melodic death/folk metal band The Few Against Many put out their debut album Sot on Pulverised Records that same year. 2010 sees the third Älvestam/Stefanović collaboration, Solution .45, finally release their debut album three years after forming. For Aeons Past is a superb album that showcases multiple facets of the pair's musical influences.

Anyone who is a fan of Älvestam's clean singing will love For Aeons Past. This album is one of the best overall clean singing performances of Älvestam's entire career, which is saying something considering the excellent clean vocals he delivered on Scar Symmetry's 2008 album, Holographic Universe. For Aeons Past blows that album away in terms of clean singing. Älvestam delivers amazingly catchy refrains, soaring verse lines, and positively operatic middle sections that defy logic for someone with such a deep speaking voice. There is even one song on the album, "Lethean Tears", which is entirely clean-sung and basically functions as a power ballad. However, there's nothing cheesy about the song or Älvestam's singing. And while the album does also feature plenty of his excellent deep growls as well, the clean singing is what really makes this album exceptional. The lyrics on the album were written by Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity, who makes a guest appearance on the track "Bladed Vaults". His lyrics combined with Älvestam's singing make for an outstanding pairing that is totally unique.

The compositions by the band only add to the grandiosity of For Aeons Past. At its core, this is a melodic death metal album, but the music is heavily influenced by power metal and also features some industrial metal characteristics. Keyboards are used in prominence throughout the album, but there are also a number of excellent guitar solos, and Rolf Pilve's drumming is just as excellent in Solution .45 as it is in Miseration. Scar Symmetry fans will obviously rave about this record, but fans of other bands ranging from Mercenary and Wintersun to Raunchy and Disarmonia Mundi will also love it and the diversity it offers.

All three of the collaborations by Christian Älvestam and Jani Stefanović are excellent bands, but Solution .45 is the one that has the most potential for a huge breakout in the metal scene because of its cross-genre appeal and unique sound. For Aeons Past is one of the rare few albums that can appeal to almost every metal fan. With influences from multiple genres and some of the best musicians in all of Europe, Solution .45 is the real deal, and fans can only hope that they will be able to break out worldwide and continue making amazing music.

Score: 9 out of 10

Track Listing

1. The Close Beyond
2. Gravitational Lensing
3. Through Night-Kingdomed Gates
4. For Aeons Past
5. Lethean Tears
6. Bladed Vaults
7. Wirethrone
8. On Embered Fields Adust
9. Into Shadow
10. Clandestinity Now
11. Spirit Side Dreaming

Album Personnel

Christian Älvestam - Vocals
Jani Stefanović - Lead and rhythm guitar
Tom Gardiner - Rhythm and lead guitar
Anders Edlund - Bass guitar
Mikko Härkin - Keyboards
Rolf Pilve - Drums

[Editor's Note: Mikko Härkin is credited on the album as a guest musician since he left the band on January 23rd, 2010]

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