Solterra
Umbra


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fry Farnsworth USER (45 Reviews)
November 10th, 2012 | 115 replies | 8,000 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With their gazes fixed on space, Solterra delivers one convincing take on the concept.

13 of 14 thought this review was well written

There is a fine line between a band evolving their sound and changing their sound. The real question is whether the alterations were intentional. Some bands in an effort to evolve their sound end up instead completely changing it and unfortunately alienating some of their old fans in the process. To evolve takes subtlety, finesse, and a certain type of creativity. With Umbra, Solterra have proven to all they possess these attributes and reaffirm to fans they still can write some downright chill songs. Umbra displays a loyal adherence to their distinct sound showcased Soul >> Earth >> Sun and injects just enough but not too much unique flair and new ideas to make it a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

If there is a theme to Umbra it would have to be the vastness of space. The word “umbra” is normally used to discuss the shadows cast by celestial bodies and means “shadow” in Latin. This connection is obviously intentional and fits the music very well. With most of the 7 songs going over the 5 minute mark, this EP is indeed a sort of miniature journey. The songs all soar and crescendo effortlessly with spoken-word interludes peppered in, enhancing the mood. Delay effects and subtle electronic synths also add to the spacy effect Umbra was going for.

Soul >> Earth >> Sun was very much a calm alternative instrumental record which displayed with all sorts of musical ideas. This kept the listener on their toes yet slightly detracted from the continuity of the album as a whole. With Umbra, the band has definitely waded into the progressive metal side of the pool. Now this doesn’t mean loud blast beats galore and low-toned, high-gain guitars, but the riffs and drums unmistakably have a metal edge to them at many points throughout the EP. Songs like the excellent finale “Contagion” and “Window Seat” (especially the former) are the prime examples of this new focus on metal-sounding riffs. The band never gets cheesy or gimmicky with The Metal however, still retaining their Solterra sound fans will recognize. Switching from the stormy sound to the calm and back again occurs very naturally throughout the record and as a result the listener is never released from the music’s concept.

Comparisons are easily made between Umbra and Soul >> Earth >> Sun which depending on your sensibilities can be a good or bad thing. While there is indeed a concept and focus to Umbra not heard in Soul >> Earth >> Sun, cursory listens can reveal little difference in the non-metal portions in terms of songwriting. In both, the bass for the most part is non-existent, and the guitar play hasn’t changed much. Production however has made the drums stand out and really helps the EP feel full.

Fortunately The Metal hasn’t taken over Umbra. Much like their previous release, soft, yet powerful effects and interludes portray a serene, almost fantastical view of outer space and exudes a feel very much like Incubus’ masterpiece “Morning View”. Solterra do a very good job of both keeping their sound and molding it into a convincing spacy concept. Treading the thin line of experimentation, evolution, and change is a daunting task for a band to accomplish well but when it is, it’s very pleasing to experience. Fans of the band will feel right at home with Umbra, and while the sound hasn’t changed so much as to attract new listeners, those people are sorely missing out.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
November 10th 2012



10828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Streaming here. It's quite good.

http://solterra.bandcamp.com/album/umbra

CaptainDooRight
November 10th 2012



26318 Comments


hey isn't this a user project

Digging: Deniro Farrar - The Patriarch II

Calc
November 10th 2012



10828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

si sir it's twlichty's band

CaptainDooRight
November 10th 2012



26318 Comments


fuk yee I 4'd the lp, def gotta hear this, I like the guy too

great rev pos pras

johnnydeking29
November 10th 2012



8662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oooh this looks cool dl time

Digging: Naked City - Naked City

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012



14482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice review will give it a listen

Digging: Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus

MO
November 10th 2012



17341 Comments


rules

everything twiltchy has done has been awesome

Digging: Soundtrack - Turok 2: Seeds of Evil OST

twlichty
November 10th 2012



3394 Comments


beast review


cheers!

Digging: Lusine - A Certain Distance

Calc
November 10th 2012



10828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks for the opportunity. I used Hailing Stars from your last album in my wedding so I was quite pleased when you asked me to do this.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012



18577 Comments


good review calc sounds cool. i'm getting more into post rock lately i'll be sure to spin this later

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2012



3005 Comments


this sounds awesome. have a pos

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012



23617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think I like this more than the LP.

good job with the review. If no one else did, I was considering writing one. Now I don't have to yayyyyy!

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

Calc
November 10th 2012



10828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thank you and you're welcome

johnnydeking29
November 11th 2012



8662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just started listening
37 mins and 7 songs is a pretty long EP btw

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2012



3005 Comments


This is a damn good EP.

DissolvingAtom
November 11th 2012



68 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It is pretty long for an ep, but i enjoyed the length of it.

Sweet review btw, pos

Calc
November 11th 2012



10828 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks everyone

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2012



14482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

didnt like it much but it was a nice review

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2012



18577 Comments


Hell yeah gratz on the feature calc

twlichty
November 11th 2012



3394 Comments


holy crap a feature!?





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