The European metal scene has never been healthier, as each week reveals more and more bands to fall in love with. Belgium Symphonic rockers Solitude Within can rightly stake their claim as part of the leading pack with their 2017 release ‘Disappear’. Led by multi-instrumentalist JP Laffarague and singer/keyboard player Emmelie Avents, the band have created an album filled with sweeping soundscapes that can both bruise and soothe.
‘Fade Away’ sets out their stall and with its jabbing keys and guitar it is imbued with a Middle Eastern vibe that is counterpointed by lush vocals and a gentle piano. An epic chorus and the heavy, crunching guitarwork take it into territory that perfectly mixes both the classical and modern sounds of the genre to great effect. This theme is continued in the next track ‘Blame’, which could easily be the music for Game of Thrones as it conjures up pictures of swooping dragons and raging battlefields.
With it’s church bells and chanting, ‘Morrigan’ has a much darker atmosphere, Avents vocals switching between epic and urgent and their occasional sweetness adding to the un-nerving feeling of a sinister force.
Tender ballad ‘Fly’ provides a momentary interval of lightness before the stupendous ‘Burn’ kicks in. A siren call of warning, it’s a paeon of obsession where utter dominance is both threatened and guaranteed. Guitars crush and wail in a fierce maelstrom that mark this as a real highlight of the album. There are pleasing echoes of Amy Lee and Evanesence in ‘Disappear’ and ‘In My Mind’ is full of a similar overwhelming power and melody.
The drama is really ramped up with gothic love song ‘Eternal Flame’, all suppressed passion and Victorian era ghosts and both ‘Turn Away’ and ‘Paralyzed’ kick in with a heavier feel that again shakes the dust from the speakers.
The former also benefits from additional growling vocals from bass player/co-songwriter Quincy Van Overmeire and a Celtic keys solo amid the wash of strings, adding another depth to the material. Once more the orchestral side of the band is shown as ‘Into the Dark’ brings things to a dramatic end with a track that twists and turns, showing off the unique style of Solitude Within and gives them their individual voice amongst their counterparts.
It would be interesting to see how they could translate all this atmosphere into a live show, but, for now, get this album and be prepared to be transported to another world. ****
Review by Paul Monkhouse
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Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)
Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)
BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)
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