Hmmm….Solution 45? No idea? Me neither, but after a little research, this is a Swedish Death/Prog band, created by guitarist Jani Stefanovic (Miseration, Divinefire, Essence of Sorrow). Their current lineup includes vocalist Christian Älvestam (Miseration, ex-Scar Symmetry), guitarists Stefanovic and Patrik Gardberg (Torchbearer, The Few Against Many, Ammotrack), and drummer Rolf Pilve (Miseration, Essence of Sorrow, Stratovarius).
Their sound? Hmmmm again. Hard to put the blocks in the right boxes, but I felt an essence of In Flames and some other bands like the excellent Atreyu. The vocals soar to the sky and then troll along the depths of Hades. The guitars scream and sing and keyboards are tastefully added. It is like a Phil Specter wall of noise, with subtle melodies slipping into the hardest of grinding blasts. You can taste the bile and touch the urgency as each song takes its own centre stage.
Did I like it? The $64,000 question. It is dense, complex, diverse and different. However, it has been difficult to retain any memory of the songs for any period of time, except for the melodic chorus of “Perfecting the Void“. The sawing sound of fuzzed guitars allied to some strings/keyboards is good in concept, but the record doesn’t hit the mark for me.
The best track here is “Bleed Heaven Dry” and, if the whole set had followed a similar Power Metal path, I may have warmed to it more, as I think this is the strength of the band. They may not be Sonata Arctica, but they could be better than some of the other European outfits. In addition, “Moments of Despair” is a great song, which shows what could be achieved if the Death growls were dispensed with.
I suppose that I didn’t really get what Solution 45 were about and that the Death Metal vocals weren’t good enough for me. If you want growling done the right way, try Randy Blyth (Lamb of God), Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) or Danny Leal (Upon A Burning Body).
The tracks are well produced and the musicianship is top notch, it is just not a balanced effort. At some point, the audience will need to be considered and I’m really not sure that Solution 45 have that as top of their agenda. My advice – stick to the Power Metal and leave Death (far) behind.