Review Summary: A drop in form – Sol aims too high and falls short, but it his talent as a musician which redeems I Am Infinity.
After the monumental Let There Be A Massacre
, Sol had a mountain to climb to even equal his debut’s forcefulness. One must commend his diverse approach to music; sophomore I Am Infinity
is a huge step away from the debut, an evolution that, although falling short in places, seems natural, the unofficial second chapter of Sol. It seems that in the year between the two albums Sol listened to nothing but death metal, and this is very evident in the structure of I Am Infinity
; the anguish-ridden and brutal brand of doom found on Let There Be A Massacre
is all but gone, with the majority of I Am Infinity
’s songs fast-paced and focused on different forms of death and black metal inspired riffing. There does exist the obvious doom influence on parts of the album, as does Sol’s affinity towards melody, but they are few and far between amongst the albums meagre 4 tracks (opener ‘Cosmos Reshaping’ and closer Cosmos Reborn are purely instrumental tracks made up of various sound effects). Ultimately, it’s easy to see that Sol took a big jump in the direction of his music; the risks were obvious and the album is to be praised for being reasonably enjoyable in its difficult fusion of genres, as well as its tendency to be rather hard to digest. The formula proves true in particular instances on the album, but as an album overall, especially in comparison to his debut, I Am Infinity
lacks that much needed hook to raise it to greater heights.
In a past interview, Sol states that all of his music is conceptual, and I am Infinity
, as with Let There Be A Massacre
, has its own concept which Sol explores through his lyrics and musical elements. The two ambient tracks which bookend the album are seemingly an integral part of this concept, but are unfortunately the reason why I was so disinterested by it. ‘Cosmos Reshaping’, at eight minutes, and ‘Cosmos Reborn’, at twelve, are two tracks which are entirely made up of random mechanical sounds and effects; they make up roughly one third of the entire album, and although my first listen of ‘Cosmos Reshaping’ warranted some fright at the impending beginning of the album, I was hugely disappointed by Sol’s decision to include these so called atmospheric pieces in the album. Perhaps there is a conceptual link between the two bookends and the actual songs, but musically, there is absolutely no way one can connect the almost opposing styles of music. ‘Cosmos Reshaping’ is a rather haunting track, and my initial thought was that it would somehow lead into the next track ‘And I Rose’, in a grand fashion of sorts. Nevertheless, this expectation was dashed on the rocks; ‘And I Rose’ begins abruptly with a doom inspired riff, coated in the typical Sol level of production (in other words, low budget and grimy), bearing no relation whatsoever to the eight minutes I just spent building up to the moment. A miniscule fault, perhaps, but it seems absolutely pointless to even have these atmospheric tracks placed on the album as they do nothing to further the concept musically, and seem oddly placed due to their almost opposite relation to Sol’s actual music.
The diversity of Sol’s music is just as apparent on the album as it is on the debut; black metal influence in both tremolo-ed riffing and Sol’s vocals, the aforementioned death metal basis and the occasional doom tint all come together rather well for Sol, albeit sometimes a little misplaced. ‘The New Void’ represents this fusion rather well, with Sol delivering an absolutely punishing riff followed by a melodic passage that harkens back to the sound of Let There Be A Massacre
. Another constant in Sol’s music is his vocals; the variety he injects into the gutturals present on I Am Infinity
really give it a higher perspective, possibly allowing one to ignore the slight inadequacies apparent on the album. It is an obvious fact that Sol’s growls are not to the highest standard; more often than not the way he strains his voice is extremely clear, but it is fortunate for him that in most instances this strain supplements the feel of the music. This is more evident on the doom inspired sections, which made his vocal performance on the debut so strong, but with the case of I Am Infinity
a death metal listener will not be hugely impressed by the way Sol asserts himself on a vocal level. Nevertheless, his growls and screams suit the music reasonably well, and give his already unique music another defining twist.
One of the biggest changes noticeable on I Am Infinity
is Sol’s removal of his over-arching guitar lines; the debut was centred around a particular structure, one that saw various doom riffs played with mournful melodies played over them. This method is more commonly employed by funeral doom bands (see Worship
), and their absence on I Am Infinity
is somewhat symbolic of Sol’s musical departure from doom and his arrival at death, in the overall background of death/doom. ‘And I Rose’ eases us into this transition with ten minutes centred around various sludgy riffs that have considerably faster tempos than one would expect from Sol; the track itself drags at times but Sol makes up for it with a well placed and fast paced riff that comes midway through the track, obliterating the slow moving grime the song had procured. A momentary lapse of melody appears at the end of the track, but other than that, the song is void of any of the vast and flowing melodies that appeared on Let There Be A Massacre
. This leaves the track as slightly bland, a problem which is suffered by the album as a whole. Sol makes up for it with very well written riffs, take for example the majority of the song ‘From Ashes to Infinity’. This track represents the pinnacle of Sol’s transition; blending a greatly death metal inspired approach to doom, played within the unique style that separates Sol from other musicians in the genre, the song moves in and out brutality and melancholy seamlessly, and is easily the best thing about I Am Infinity
For what it’s worth, I Am Infinity
does well to succeed Let There Be A Massacre
. It would have been even more disappointing had he replicated the feel of his debut, so although this change in style may not be as accomplished as one would hope, it is very welcome as the next instalment of Sol. One cannot expect the level of dreariness that propelled Let There Be A Massacre
as a doom album, and I Am Infinity
does not quite hit the mark as a death metal album; it is a fusion of Sol’s various musical influences, and when listening it’s quite clear that although he knows what he’s doing, there is still room for improvement in this particular direction that has been set.