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Review: In Solitude - Sister
In Solitude

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2013
Duration: 46:05
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: October 11, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.16/5 (83.16%) (19 Votes)

In Solitude's third full-length release Sister is a curious beast. Whereas there last one was a straight up, old school heavy metal affair paying homage to the likes of Mercyful Fate and Iron Maiden, here their brand of metal has been shaken up with gothic rock and post-rock elements, creating a sound that to me, comes off as relatively original.

I'd have to say that in terms of comparison with their contemporaries In Solitude remind the most of fellow countrymen Ghost on this album, although I'd say In Solitude's approach comes across as more compelling. Whereas Ghost very much apply their template of heavy/doom verse, seventies pop chorus, In Solitude build their sound from the ground up, with an almost demented, desolate atmosphere, driven via spangly guitars which have as much in common with their heavy metal influences as it does that of acts as diverse as Fields Of The Nephilim and The Cure.

The production really helps in giving this its unique feel, particularly in the guitar department. The guitar tone has a distinct old school vibe, although I'd say it had more in common with The Clash than any post-seventies heavy metal release. As such the sound really comes off natural, without dominating, distorted guitars. The rest of the instruments get a lot more breathing space, which can be said of the vocals as well as the sparse keyboard/effect use. It's particularly great to be able to follow the bass so easily, as Gottfrid Åhman has really laid down some magic bass-lines.

The atmosphere across Sister is certainly what I'd say was the biggest drawing factor, at least for me anyway. "A Buried Sun" displays this perfectly with its trudging pace. The guitars sport a slight post-black metal vibe in the first half of the song, slowly building up and driven by Pelle Åhman's chilling Danzig-meets-Joe-Strummer vocal performance (and bizarre lyrics) until around the four minute mark where they unleash one of the finest guitar lines I've heard this year – so fucking good. Niklas Lindström and Henrik Palm are really on the ball with their guitar work, and I love how they fuse traditional metal values into styles and motifs that I haven't heard often in the genre. In places it helps give the songs a dusty, bluesy vibe and in others they kick up the dust with some stomping riffs that can be heard in the likes of "Death Knows Where" or "Lavender". Of course Uno Bruniusson's driving performance allows a lot of the material to be as heavy as it is, and even when the band sound like The Cure, for example in moments of "Pallid Hands", the drums adhere to a firmly metal performance.

Mixing into their cauldron this diverse range of style and influence, In Solitude have managed to cook up a spectacular release, which comes off all the more surprising when taking into context their undoubtedly derivative past. Whilst there are plenty of bands playing a variation on this kind of seventies tinged, occult rock sound, I'd say In Solitude take a decidedly original approach this time around. Like a bizarre mesh of Danzig, Mercyful Fate, Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure and seventies Judas Priest complete with their own unique spin, I can't really say I've heard anything like Sister before. Sure to turn as many heads, as to distort as many faces, In Solitude might not appeal to everyone here with Sister, but those looking for some fucking cool music should really check this out.

More about In Solitude...
Review: In Solitude (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The World.The Flesh.The Devil (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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