[schema type=”review” name=”Solution .45 – Nightmares In The Waking State – Part II ” description=”Label: AFM Records” author=”Juho Karila” pubdate=”2016-08-26″ ]
Solution .45 is a metal supergroup from Sweden, created by guitarist Jani Stefanovic (Miseration, Divinefire, Essence of Sorrow). Their current lineup includes vocalist Christian Älvestam (Miseration, ex-Scar Symmetry), guitarists Stefanovic and Patrik Gardberg (Torchbearer, The Few Against Many, Ammotrack), and drummer Rolf Pilve (Miseration, Essence of Sorrow, Stratovarius). This is their brand new album “Nightmares In The Waking State – Part II”.
After Chistian Älvestam‘s departure from Scar Symmetry, I long had a sense that this wasn’t the end of one of the most memorable and distinguishing vocalists in the metal scene. And it didn’t take too long when he announced to have another melodeath project to continue from where he left and the debut album proved the wait to be worthwhile. Now, six years later, the band has released their third album which is a great leap towards a more unique sound and touch and the album is nothing to be compared to Scar Symmetry.
The intro track, Dim are the Pathways, reveals that this is going to be a massive record and listening to it won’t be a simple deal. The Faint Pulse of Light underlines the statement and reveals that the album is the most ambitious one on Älvestam’s career so far. Following the recent trend, the main focus of the song isn’t on catchy guitar melodies and keyboard leads but rhythmic groove and almost etheric keys on the background, forming a sci-fi soundscape. The harmonics are there, hidden beneath the surface and forcing the listener to pay close attention or they’ll be missed but the main point is in the overall sound, which is massive and immersive. Followed by Mind Mutation, the same thundering blast continues but this time a bit more melodic due a bit calmer chorus with clean singing.
Built on Sand takes another step further away from Scar Symmetry and reminds more of Meshuggah by being more progressive than the band’s previous material and the melodic resposibility is left completely on the singer’s shoulders. The song is also significantly slower than the previous ones and falls to the same problem as majority of mid-tempo metal songs by just lacking the elements to keep the thing intresting. Having complex rhythms and riffs just aren’t enough to carry the listener over to the end when the band has two guitarists, who clearly could flavor the music with leads. Or even synths, which are given in small parts, yet failing to maintain enough hooks to save the song from being simply boring.
Inescapable Dream is my personal favorite of the album and it’s also a turning point by being something different than the others. It’s catchy, it’s melodic and more Rock ‘n’ Roll than the rest of the tracks without too much techicality by following a pop-hit-schema. It’s also something the fans of older material and Scar Symmetry would like in its upbeat groove and lighter tone, without compromising the sci-fi feel and soundscape of the album.
The Curse that Keeps on Giving leads us to a whole new direction once again. Being slower and beginning calm, it’s one of the more progressive and emotional songs and plays with melodies maybe a bit more than the previous ones. Dynamically very diverse song, this is a prime example what the band could do at their best with a mid-tempo song as it’s heavily loaded with an emotional charge and takes us away from the soundscape to break the musical line a bit; vividly reminding of Katatonia.
Rest of the album pretty much revolves around those archtypes that define Solution .45 in 2016 and I have to say that I’m pleased with what they’re heading to. Nearly a flawless masterpiece, NitWS II. is an album I can recommend to the fans of modern metal as it’s a great mix of modern progressive and traditional melodeath. A passage of natural progression as the band clearly makes effort in carving their own path. I’ll be eagerly waiting to hear more from them.
01. Dim Are the Pathways
02. The Faint Pulse of Light
03. Mind Mutation
04. Built on Sand
05. Inescapable Dream
06. The Curse That Keeps On Giving
07. Chain Connector
08. What Turns the Wheels
09. Misery Mantra
10.Heavy Lies the Crown