In Times Of Solitude
posted on 7/2011 By:
There is something to be said of demos: almost always, they are either an immature take on something that would be great (or not), or function as an obscurity, the lone relic of a music that never met the ears it was written for. Sometimes though, they are lost treasures, songs that were ruined by overproduction, legendary unsigned lineups, masterpieces that never made the album. In Times of Solitude, one of the first Solitude Aeturnus demos, lands somewhere in the midst of those traits.
Receiving the reissue treatment from Massacre Records, In Times of Solitude (originally released in 1999 by Doomed Planet), reflects one of the true greats of US doom metal in their infancy, stretching their wings to fly to the underground heights that they would eventually reach. Of the demo tracks, 3 of the 5 (“It Came Upon One Night,” “Transcending Sentinels,” and “Where Angels Dare to Tread.”) would appear on subsequent full-lengths. Though slightly changed on their later appearances, they are relatively similar. Included also are “Sojourner” and “In Battle,” two songs of definite quality (the former especially) that never appeared on any album, and a selection of rehearsal tracks which are largely of rehearsal quality. Throughout, the band is in great form, exuberant and confidant in their riffing, lyrically impressive and energetic.
The story is not in what is here, but instead in what is not.
The vocalist performing on In Times of Solitude is one Kris Gabehardt. While not a bad vocalist, and certainly par for the course for most US doom metal, he lacks emotion, conviction and invention. Said traits just happen to be three things that his imminent successor, one Robert Lowe, has in spades. The switch from Gabehardt to Lowe would be one akin to such switches as Langqvist to Marcolin or Atkins to Halford. While the music the former singers performed over may have been stellar, the voice was transitionary no matter how talented they may have been. The bands needed to find the right singer to find their real voice.
So In Times of Solitude is a growing pain. While it yields decent enough results and has shockingly good production for a demo, the songs lack the proper emotion. Depth is sacrificed then, and doom without depth is simply not captivating enough. It takes that narration, that warning in the mist to really make doom metal complete. This collection is simply incomplete. It's a suitable collector's item certainly, but more than anything, it's a stumbling baby-step on the path to the throne.
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