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Metallic mishmash - 75%

Felix 1666, July 17th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1990, CD, Epic Records

Speaking of Meliah Rage, I am not familiar with each and every album of the band. That´s because some of its later works failed to get a place of honour in my collection. In terms of style, Meliah Rage was always meandering throughout the years, for better or for worse. "Solitary Solitude" makes my day because of its thrash influences. Well, I have to admit that I do not understand the deeper sense of the album´s strange title. But I understand the glory of an effective thrash riff and the opening title track offers a magnificent specimen. Like a carefully sharpened axe that chops wood, the guitars attacked the listener while spitting out an evocating riff. Edgy and catchy melody lines flowed into the accusing chorus, by the way, a very strong chorus, because it picked up the skull splitting riff of the beginning. The guitars were supported by both the powerful lead vocals and the thunderous drums. But I am not speaking of a genuine thrasher. The mid-paced song failed to present the necessary degree of velocity and the slightly spooky middle part had almost nothing to do with thrash metal. Anyway, the opener defined the musical direction of the album while being its absolute highlight at the same time. The ironic twist of fate was that Meliah Rage discovered its joy of thrash metal exactly at a time when the peak phase of the phenomenal genre was already waning. But good music is always welcome, no matter what the trend.

And "Solitary Solitude" offered a lot of good music. Snappy tunes such as "No Mind" passed on the baton to dark and slow-moving songs like "Decline of Rule" - please regard its political lyrics - that reached the finishing line with their last ounce of strength. The song structures were easily comprehensible, which does not mean that they had nothing interesting to offer. Meliah Rage revealed its keen sense for coherent compositional formulas. Apart from the sinister "Deliver Me" with its unadorned instrumentation, all songs were inspired by the best parts of the metal history while avoiding any external influences. Doubtlessly, the band members were true metalheads. The riffs as well as the guitar lines generated the necessary amount of density so that the album did not lack of pressure. Too bad that it offered an other weakness. Its last third could not compete with the previous tracks. The choruses of "Lost Life" and "Swallow Your Soul" were less targeted. Nonetheless, these tunes did not damage the flow of the album.

"Solitary Solitude" did not keep the best for last, but the epic "Razor Ribbon" marked an impressive conclusion. Its main riff constituted the reason why this tune did not lack of tension, although its playtime of almost eight minutes gave actually cause for concern. But the song was stringently designed. Despite its mid-tempo approach, it did not display a lack of vibrancy. Not to mention the mighty and expressive vocals that guaranteed the necessary degree of sonority. In summary, this album had to struggle with a widespread problem. It did not clearly define its position while combining power and thrash metal. Too bad that the mature implementation could not replace the missing concept. The slightly dissatisfying result was that the output was caught between two stools. It did furthermore not fulfill the commercial expectations. However, "Solitary Solitude" left its mark, not only because of the outstanding title track.

Thrashitary Thrashitude. - 85%

Metal_Jaw, December 30th, 2013

Despite still hanging on and actively performing even today, Meliah Rage still hasn't exactly climbed the ladder of heavy metal. Back in 1990, they tried to leap forward a bit by hardening their sound, maybe become a bit more known. The result was their sophomore effort, the hilariously redundant "Solitary Solitude". This album still retains some of the group's USPM roots, but overall an even sharper turn towards thrash has been taken, resulting in a mostly mid-paced record that is comparable to Anthrax and even some of Overkill's stuff. The final product is entertaining enough, but seriously lacks the bite and energy that debut had.

The crew from "Kill To Survive" returns with a vengeance for this one. Mike Munro refines his voice oh so slightly this time out, with some minute variations throughout the run-time, but mostly he keeps that barking snarl he had on the debut out in front. Once again Anthony Nichols and Jim Koury are the heroes, their guitar skills having been sharpened nicely in between albums. Their forceful rhythms and riffs are still remain strong, but their solos and breaks in particular are a big step up from the sloppy shredding of the debut. Jesse Johnson's bass abilities don't stand out quite as much this time, but the bass tone is of itself is richer and a bit higher in the mix. Stuart Dowie still drums nicely, but he goes through the motions a bit more on here; he's still a solid kit smasher, but his energy and creativity from "Kill To Survive" is missed.

Despite going down a thrashier path, much of the music on here is not all that fast. Much of it doesn't go past mid-paced, savoring riffage for speed. In fact, unlike the debut, we have a few sub-par tracks. The opening title track, for example, is just plain boring. It's a decent song, but leaves very little of a mark on the listener. "Lost Life" is a little better, but not by a heck of a lot, mostly going down the same uninteresting path. Then there's the useless ballad "Deliver Me"; just...just skip it. The rest of the tracks are fair game thankfully. The tense, biting rhythms of "The Witching" and "Decline of Rule" are much more interesting. Speed comes in the form of the snapping "No Mind" and the ridiculously fun and catchy "Evil Dead"-inspired "Swallow Your Soul". Probably the best song on here is "Retaliation", armed with vicious galloping riffage and neck-snapping tempo shifts.

Overall, as you can probably tell, Meliah Rage's 2nd studio effort does suffer from "sophomore slump" to some extent. The performances aren't as vigorous, and a there's more than a few boring throwaway tracks to go around. The stronger tracks do make the album standout more, and if you're a fan of the east coast thrash sound and crunchier mid-paced thrash, you might wanna give it a shot. Otherwise it's not quite as solid or as essential as the debut, which warrants re-discovery first. Do give "Solitary Solitude" a spin if you come across it though.

A Rock'em Sock'em Thrash Album! - 88%

overkill67, December 13th, 2004

Wow, What a great album. An aggressive onslaught of catchiness, delivered in the form of palm-muted text book thrash metal. There are a few hints of power metal and straight forward heavy metal textures, but for the most mart however, this is straight forward bonafide thrash! Many critics failed to realize Meliah Rage as a competent thrash band and for whatever reason they never did receive the recognition that they righfully deserved. I have heard some people compare this band to a lesser talented Pantera, but aside from the guitar solos on a Pantera album...I don't quite know where their shortcomings are being derived from?
As far as I'm concerned, this album is excellent! Mike Munroe's vocal approach is very powerful, yet at the same time very flavorful. Mike can sing like a motherfucker. He is capable of hitting some high notes and he can acheive the gutteral effect when needed, but for the most part he's simply a powerful singer that adds to the overall affect of the album on the listener. His angry emotion cannot be denied! Nor can his ability to structure several words strung into a single breath without deviating off key (check out the ending of Solitary Solitude)
The guitars are very crunchy and the chord progressions that Anthony Nichols creates, manage to work beautifully on each and every song. There are some groove laden dun-dun's(aka palm muted in E Chord pattern's) as well as some speedy crunchy kinda stuff thats flows beautifullly(see No Mind) Anthony Nichols is actually in my opinion one of the most consistent song writters of the genre. The man can do no wrong.
The drumming is better than sub-par, but not quite as amazing as on the next album.
Overall, this album is an important part of the early nineties thrash era, just before the genre kinda disappeared for awhile. All those that have never heard this album should immediately do whatever is necessary to aquire it, for it truly is a long lost Hardifact.
Also, be on the lookout on the net, there is actually a video for the song The Withcing.
Best Tracks are; Solitary Solitude, No Mind, Lost Life, The Witching, and Razor Ribbon

Far thrashier than the debut - 70%

UltraBoris, December 1st, 2002

This one isn't quite as strong as the debut album, but is still very very good. Here the band takes on a more traditional thrash sound, with a definite New York (Nuclear Assault/Anthrax) vibe. Indeed, they pretty much have the art of the midpaced single-note mosh riff down pat.

"Solitary Solitude" starts us off. Above average speed, but really not all that fast - definite thrash metal to be found here. Some nice riffs in the middle provide a great contrast to the introduction riff. Be warned - do NOT play this album in a country where headbanging is forbidden, or you will be thrown in jail and forced to listen to Barbra Streisand.

"No Mind" is more of the same, except it has the most crushing thrash break this side of "Fight to be Free" or "Subterfuge". In fucking sane. "Decline of Rule" - you want thrash, you've got it. "Retaliation"... which is apparently a synonym for RIFF FUCKING ONSLAUGHT.

Okay then the album kinda dies. "Deliver Me" is a cheesy little ballad. It's not bad, but it really doesn't belong on a thrash album. Oh well. "The Witching" is the hit single, it's 80s metal, but the middle riff set is still quite fucking heavy. "Lost Life" and "Swallow Your Soul" are more of the same, a bit less overtly heavy than the first side of the album, but definitely far away from Winger territory. Then, we have "Razor Ribbon", which starts off slow and then ends up heavier than Hell... it's like getting whacked with a brontosaurus about 154 times per minute. Good stuff!

Okay so this one isn't as variant as the first album - for the most part this is straight-up thrash, without nearly as many speed metal moments. Nonetheless, it is quite excellent and worth getting. THRASH!!!