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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: 5+/5

Review online: May 16, 2006
Reviewed by: Ulysses
Readers Rating
New Dark Age

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

What am I about to say will result in me being lynched at night by Candlemass purists, but when it comes to the best Doom album ever written, (in my opinion) nobody comes close to the album "New Dark Age" by England's Solstice. From the beginning of the album with their grim and chaotically static introduction of the first track to the stomping traditional doom musicianship topped with excellent doom riffs, mystifying vocals and the associated medieval-inspired instrumentals and acoustic songs. This album has an amazing range from dismal-laden riffs of guitarist Rich Walker (who is also renowned for his label The Miskatonic Foundation) to soothing tracks that act as an intermission between the first portion of the album's epic tracks to the monolithic 25 minute conclusion of the album with the final tracks "Cromlech" and "New Dark II / Legion XIII".

On New Dark Age, it's really difficult for me to pick the best track out of "New Dark Age / The Sleeping Tyrant", "Cimmerian Codex", "Hammer of Damnation", "Cromlech" and the final cut since they are all incredibly mind-blowingly addictive and well-written and all play their grievous role in this stupendous album. I'm serious when I cannot find one thing wrong with this album; Rich Walker provides some of the coolest riffs ever and not to mention that his solos are absolutely mind-numbing. He must've bent the cosmos writing those melodies! The vocals are also astonishing and they accompany the overall music delightfully and the lyrics are dark yet astoundingly well-written (while unexpectedly lacking in misanthropic topics). I'd be a fool not to mention that the drumming is an elegant addition to the overall sound with the extra companionship of the bassist supplying the music with extraordinary depth and echoing vigor. What throws the "+" here is that I've never heard an album with such an enigmatic atmosphere as this one does, the theme is absolute genius and I'm having a difficult time locating an album that can top the overall package of emotion that New Dark Age contains.

If you ever want to look for a gem to treasure for years to come, pick up this album. This expands the doom boundaries in every direction by incorporation brilliant musicianship with the bleak and drearily evil atmosphere that we all crave in Doom Metal. I doubt that I could ever reward another Doom Metal album a score that could match this one, my highest recommendation to fans of any and every genre!

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