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Review: Solstice - New Dark Age
New Dark Age

Label: Misanthropy Records
Year released: 1998
Duration: 66:05
Tracks: 11
Genre: Doom Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: February 6, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
New Dark Age

Rated 4.37/5 (87.37%) (57 Votes)

This was the second full-length, and the third overall release for this fine English Doom band. Though this is as of now their most recent album, and the band has been long-dormant, a new lineup has been formed and a new album has been announced, which I can see as nothing but a good thing. For the record: while this new lineup includes members of While Heaven Wept, Twisted Tower Dire and Slough Feg, "New Dark Age" does not feature these players, and was recorded with another lineup altogether, including guitarist John Piras, now in Cradle Of Filth.

This is a growth and evolution from the debut "Lamentations", and is a bit more epic/traditional than that album. The Sabbath and Solitude Aeturnus influences are less noticeable, and "New Dark Age" has a more individual sound. Again the riffing is more melodic than heavy, and the band relies on good songs more than just sludgy riffs. The songs are epic and long, but this album features some rather uptempo songs like the super-cool "Alchemiculte" and parts of "The Sleeping Tyrant". Don't worry though, as Solstice have not given up doom, and most of this is still slow and crushing Doom like the awesome "Cromlech". They also foray into some acoustic and folky songs like the beautiful medieval-toned "The Anguine Rose".

The performances are excellent, with the slight exception of the vocals by Morris Ingrams. He sounds a lot like a cross between previous singer Simon Matrevers and Tom Phillips – in other words he's pretty good, only his voice is not terrible strong, and he frequently sounds tentative and unsure. He's not bad by any measure, but a more confident vocal performance would have been nice. Again the recording is a bit muted, but the underground feel does add something that a more slick production job would not.

"New Dark Age" is just a magnificent Doom album, with a lot of good songs and several great ones. Any fans of old-school Doom should definitely try to track this down. It can be hard to find, but is more than worth the effort.

Other related information on the site
Review: Death's Crown Is Victory (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Lamentations (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Lamentations (2006 Re-issue) (reviewed by Ulysses)
Review: New Dark Age (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: New Dark Age (reviewed by Ulysses)
Review: White Horse Hill (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: White Horse Hill (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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