Review Summary: A journey melding beauty, despair rolled in a two tracked EP.
Of Solitude and Solemn is the artistic moniker for a one man doom metal project. The EP of the same name does well within the confines of the doom genre, highlighting the overall directional promise that is sure to come. This two tracked introductory recording is but a tease of tranquil beauty contrasted with some spectacularly timed ringing devastation finishing up on a fair, albeit short twenty-four minutes. Of Solitude and Solemn
is an atmospheric affair engaging the listener from start to finish and leaves those who hear this stereotypically balanced EP wanting more, a want that is justified only by these two highly memorable and engaging tracks. Twisting and turning, Of Solitude and Solemn
promote a sense of majestic melancholy, measured and restrained. Aided by a reasonably budgeted production process, passages combine without jarring between sections, further displaying that this EP is sure to be an indication of how more music under this moniker would be received. Of Solitude and Solemn
sweeps, transcends, yet somehow conforms in a way that is natural for the music. Ethereal cleans combine with tremolo and rung out chords not unlike the funeral doom band’s that have already established a strong almost symphonic element but, having other melodic facets interweaving with layer upon layer give these tracks life and will at times envelope the listener.
At the helm of this one man project lies Joe Hawker, and off the back of this release it’s clear that the man knows when and where certain features of the music work; lifting instruments in the mix, consistently adding vibrant symphonic passages and interestingly enough vocals only in the latter end of tracks. The vocals especially play a huge role in Of Solitude and Solemn
. Ranging from raspy black metal aesthetics to smooth post metal mid to low cleans, there is little missing from this twenty four minute affair, these vocal moments come as a secondary role to the music allowing the instrumental side of the EP to take hold of the listener, further showing the depth in creation as Mr Hawker mixes leads with shoegaze symphonic and post metal sections alike. There’s a couple of things that go unnoticed on a first listen. One of those includes the presence of bass that thickens the music, essentially holding this quality affair together. The other comes in the album’s overall simplicity; this can be found at any point of the two tracks. Simple ideas are layered over the top of ringing chords, this idolises the restraint shown by Hawker and re-affirms the old motto, “less is more”. That’s not to say that the music is only two faced, especially considering all the soundscapes that are used, rather the music becomes its own entity needing little comparison internally or externally. The phrase mentioned above couldn’t be stressed enough in the doom metal genre.
In retrospect, Of Solitude and Solemn
isn’t anything different or innovative as far as the genre’s stigmas go. Instead, the EP brings together bits and pieces from here and there and transforms them into the integral sound. Despite the recordings length one must remember this is only a snippet into the music to follow. For the listener with a flair for funeral doom, post metal, symphonic and shoegaze this short EP is bound to please on a number of levels. Combining aesthetically pleasing stereotypes of the above mentioned genres comes with a certain degree of difficulty, fortunately this one man, multi-instrumentalist pulls it off with only the production to query. Needless to say, Of Solitude and Solemn
interacts with the listener, captivating and lulling them in, further increasing the replay values and more importantly engaging them with quality in composition. It becomes something special when hearing the birth of a project but unfortunately, the EP is over too soon...