Review Summary: Why is Willie the only one on this site who has rated this album? WHY?
Every now and then you’ll come across an album which makes you think ‘How in the hell have I not heard of this before"’ The album is a superb, genre-making album which has eluded your grasp. Usually, it’s because the album is itself unknown to the masses, and only lives through the legacy it has left in a particular genre. Into the Depths of Sorrow
is one of those albums. Solitude Aeturnus
is a Doom metal band from the USA, more specifically Texas. The band was first formed in 87, under the name of Solitude
, but underwent a name change and two demos (88, 89) before releasing their debut album Into the Depths of Sorrow
in 1991. I was only introduced to them recently (thanks to Willie), but I’ve been blown away by how good they are. They fuse technicality, power metal elements, melody and an overall feeling of despair all into one album, the typically titled Into the Depths of Sorrow
The first thing to note is the technicality of the album. Speaking from personal experience, I think that Doom metal does not rely on technical music at all. Bands like My Dying Bride
,or Swallow the Sun
, are not technical. Solitude Aeturnus
is the band that proved me wrong. Due to the heavy power metal influence, the album is a blend of up-beat technical metal and slow and emotive Doom. All the instruments are very well executed, not only delivering technicality, but also creating atmosphere and portraying emotion. I’ll begin by pointing out the guitar work: all the riffs are generally very good, sounding very heavy but still retaining melody. This sets Solitude Aeturnus
apart from other Doom bands, who solely feature slow and predictable riffs. However, the real stand-outs are the guitar solos. The band wastes no time in showing this talent; the first song after the introduction, ‘Opaque Divinity’, has an incredible guitar solo. This trend continues through all the songs. Alongside the guitars, the bass is one of the best parts of the album: you can actually hear it! I was very glad that the bass was audible; it definitely made the album a much better experience. The drums also, are extremely well done. ‘Dream of Immortality’ is a good example, it has some excellent drumming, shifting between quick and tightly executed drumming to slow beats that drive the slower more doom-orientated parts. ‘Transcending Sentinels’ also has good drumming. Technically, this album is a joy to listen to, but it does not let the technicality take control; melody and emotion rise above the technicality.
The one thing that differentiates this album (and band) from the Doom metal bands that originated in the early 90s are the vocals. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but bands like My Dying Bride and Katatonia both were formed in the early 90s and featured harsh vocals rather than clean vocals (this obviously changed as the bands progressed). Into the Depths of Sorrow
has only clean vocals, which is probably a product of its birth in the 80s, and the obvious Candlemass
influence. Robert Lowe was the vocalist for Solitude Aeturnus at the time (still is, I think), and has a very distinctive voice. The best way to describe it is that it has the style of Iron Maiden’s
Bruce Dickinson, but the tone and intensity of Judas Priest’s
Rob Halford. Similarities aside, Lowe still has a very strong and unique voice which complements the music brilliantly. He occasionally turns a sorrowful wail into a snarl as well, which I thought sounded very cool. His intense wails are immense, and just pull you right into the music. However, as good as he is, his vocals are not perfect. After I while I noticed that in his more intense and high moments it seemed as if he was trying to reach a certain note but not being able to. This thought was also backed up by my girlfriend (who actually knows about singing). Other than that, I really enjoyed his wailing voice; it really added a sense of despair to a lot of the songs.
As an album overall, the music is very diverse. Listening through the entire thing, I did not hear any tracks or sections which reminded me of other tracks on the album. Every song is original, and just a delight to listen to. Hence, there is not much repetition, so you won’t get bored of the album at all really. I’m still surprised to see that this album, and Solitude Aeturnus
, are relatively unknown. The album is definitely one of the pioneers in the evolution of the Doom metal genre, and should not be overlooked. It caters for an enormous range of listeners: you don’t need to like doom metal or even power metal to like this album. It stands on its own, and is absolutely sublime.
- Blends doom and power metal very effectively
- Has a good range of songs
- The vocals soar as high as eagles
- The music is brilliant
- Production is good for an approximately 17 year old album.
- Easily accessible
- Lowe’s vocals have that little annoying thing mentioned before
- My review isn’t that good (it bugs me)
Mirror of Sorrow (definitely my favourite song on the album)
Dreams of Immortality