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Review: Solitaire - Rising To The Challenge
Rising To The Challenge

Label: Iron Glory
Year released: 2002
Duration: 35:54
Tracks: 10
Genre: Speed Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: January 14, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Rising To The Challenge

Rated 4.42/5 (88.33%) (12 Votes)

If you're like many people - including myself - you've been waiting a while for new Exciter stuff, but the on-going lineup problems are making you lose your patience. Rejoice, for Solitaire is about as close to Exciter as you can get without being Exciter. I had been told that they sounded like Exciter, but I didn't expect the style to be pratically identical. And this is pretty much the one really negative thing that can be said about this album: It lacks originality, this is pretty much an Exciter clone, nothing more, and pretty much nothing less. Now ordinarily I wouldn't waste too much time on a CD from what is essentially a clone band if this were a genre that's over-saturated, but the classic speed/thrash genre has been pretty much lacking new blood in the last few years so...

Solitaire's sound is deeply rooted in early Exciter, say Violence and Force era, but their sound is slightly more modern and polished - interestingly this takes away some of the aggression, especially guitar-wise. This is just a comparison to Exciter's sound, however, as the speed and aggression found here should still please just about any 80s speed/thrash fan, and then some. The vocals are of the standard speed/thrash variety, once again definitely Exciter-inspired ("Exciter" is the key word here, in case you hadn't noticed ;)). Not as powerfull as Dan Beehler's, but quite good overall, although at times they are a bit muffled and hard to make out.

Like Sweden's Wolf do for heavy metal, Finland's Solitaire play straightforward, classic 80s speed/thrash with no innovation - or at least not much. So if you're looking for the next groundbreaker, this is not it. However, if you're looking for hours of neck-breaking headbanging, 80s-style, you owe it to yourself to pick up this album. Highly recommended.

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