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Seasonal Stockholm Syndrome - 71%

Five_Nails, May 13th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Independent

Stockholm's Soliloquium is a mid-paced doom/death metal band that lulls you into its vibrations with calming transitions, but when it comes to the music's deleterious nature there is still an unmistakably jarring essence of trauma to convey.

The doom/death mixture creates a tempered rocking sound in “Autumn State” but retains its sinister undertones in the dominating diminishing notes through the electric guitar's downturn that drives each riff from its high perch to the drooping ebb after each flow. Its smoothness, awash with beauty, enjoys the grim solemnity that it endures. The guitar glides away from the consistent bass principle that keeps it confined to its space. Accentuating this doom/death delivery is a guttural vocal that only changes its style once in a cleanly sung stanza near the end of “Garden of Truculence”. The distant echoes behind the gutturals harness the hellacious emptiness in the lyrics, however there are a couple of issues with the guitars.

The enchanting guitar in “Garden of Truculence” deserves better placement in this mix than it has. Though the distant and quieter opening sits audibly and humbly enough in its space, the louder whine of the overpowering rhythm guitar is too much. The song's initial start is far too overcome, creating an unnecessarily hollow mixture that doesn't capture the lower driving aspects of this well-crafted introduction to a clearly talented band. With the drumming working well to play where it can alongside the lower register, there is plenty of space to rise in expansive moments. However when Soliloquium gets driving along as a combined ensemble in “Autumn State”, the rhythm guitar's tone becomes the rough edge that holds the song back. The tones are too prominent and high-pitched to hold things together as the subtle go-between rather than the headache-inducing swindler of the spotlight.

Granted, the isolation somewhat works with the musical themes, even leaving the double bass kicking early in “Garden of Truculence” sounding nice and crisp as the guitars are called upwards and away from the tumult on the ground. In its doom sense it's easier to notice that the guitars are trying to be as audible as possible without blending together too much. However, it ends up making for a rather bare delivery that harshes this vibe with a stale guitar that genuinely tries to find its harmony with the other one, but misses the mark in some key moments. Despite the strong standard chugging through “Autumn State”, this distance creates a disparate height in these guitars that finds them unable to interweave their tones as well as they could have. Dissipating just before their embrace, the vibrations reach across a vast area miles away from the percussion's pace. These are small production problems, something that every band starting out has to work on, but they hurt these well-rounded songs with such unsubtle issues, especially in a style like doom that focuses more on subtlety than most of the heavy metal map.

Each song's laborious pace astutely raises the stakes of “When Silence Grows Venomous”, layering each element onto its initial framework like a lattice wrapped in vines until its metal is invisible due to its envelopment. As the lyrics describe paranoia nurtured in isolation and misanthropy, the protagonist's own destructive machinations wrap him in a world of his own delusions and twist their tendrils to warp his once-firm sense of reality. Capturing the essence of enduring seasonal affective disorder on a yearly basis, “Autumn State” describes the emptiness of consolidating one's life back into the confines of the hibernating months. The outside becomes dangerous, shelter becomes too isolating, and adventure disappears to the routine of existing in a near dormancy, awaiting the silent world around you to emerge, bustling with life again after these treacherous months. This sort of systemic annual routine becomes imprisoning as cabin fever wills you into derangement, a constant niggling background process of the mind chips away at your every nerve and eventually overcomes your mask of normalcy. An inescapable repetition leaves you brimming with doubts, regrets, and distracts your mind with passed potentialities. Soliloquium's lyrics explore this seasonal depression astutely in a deeply personal journey rather than a clinical exercise. The manipulation one's mind is exposed to in this circumstance is written in incredibly relatable lyrical stanzas with a strong understanding of the very common themes of mental anguish and insanity that permeate death, doom, and post-metal songs across the board. It is fitting that a band describing seasonal captivity and the way it can manipulate one's mind in such a visceral and personal way would be from a city best known for a captivity-based mental disorder.

In all, Soliloquium's first demo, “When Silence Grows Venomous” is an introduction to a band that genuinely understands what it wants to impart on its listeners, shows an aptitude for constructing well-rounded songs that undulate and transition smoothly, and needs to only work on making the production live up to the other strengths already shown as this band goes forward.

Soliloquium - 80%

Zerberus, April 26th, 2013

Soliloquium (say it five times fast) started out in Sweden in 2011, and already by 2012 they had released this demo. The band consists of two people, Jonas Bergkvist and Stefan Nordström from the death metal bands Ending Quest and Desolator. For Soliloquium they have kept some of the death metal elements, but chose to mix it up with melancholic and cold doom metal much in the same vein early Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, Ghost Brigade and October Tide. The thing these bands have in common other than the music style is location - All of them are from Northern Europe, and like them Soliloquium has that very destinct melodic and desolate sound.

The demo is rather short with only two songs, but the songs are well-composed and pretty lengthy. Often with doom metal the songs become too long and tedious because the band simply hasn't got enough to offer, and the songs just become bland repetitions of the same two or three parts. With that in mind I was at first reluctant regarding the whole demo, but I quickly found that the two tracks are more than worthwhile getting into. Once you sit down and really listen to Soliloquium their music will grow on you and you will notice the duo's skills in writing.

As with many other doom metal bands Soliloquium has one problem: The music has a tendency to feel unclimactic. Garden of Truculence and Autumn State never really build any momentum and thus you can never really tell how far along in the track you are. Some might argue that momentum and climax has nothing to do in doom metal (especially death/doom metal), but in the end this element is what makes a song come together and gets it from a 9 to a 10.
However, the slowly churning double kick drums in Soliloquium trustily forces the compositions onward, and helped along by the gloomily melodic guitars "When Silence Grows Venomous" isn't a half bad effort. Soliloquium are succesful in creating a truly doom-worthy atmosphere along with perfectly murky production. If there were 20 years earlier they would've been among the most known bands of the genre today.

Originally posted on

Soliloquium - When Silence Grows Venomous - 80%

jimstayahead1, September 12th, 2012

Having listened to previous work by Stefan and Jonas, I was intrigued to hear what their take on the old doom/death blueprint would be like. Garden of Truculence's main element during the intro is the huge sounding guitar riff, with the gently plucked guitar notes sitting underneath. There are elements too of death metal, in the drumming. The real clue comes in when Stefan Nordstrom's raspy death metal vocals start. They're low and fit the music really well. It's actually very anthemic as well, with the guitar being allowed to project melody into the song. The doom influences here are more obvious in the length of the song, and the slower passages. There's no need for Soliloquium to go all out and batter the listener, they just let the music flow and evolve. The clean guitar and singing that they play towards the end of song are a surprise and add a new texture to the music.

Autumn State follows on along the same blueprint, slow, anthemic riffs, but with added layers this time and the main verse kicks in, with less of a build up. It seems as though Soliloquium want to build more of an impact through this song. Stefan's vocals are certainly more prominent. The instrumental passages are still there though, with more great guitar melodies and cleverly placed moments of musicianship.I think this song gives them more reason to carry on along this path. It's got the foreboding dynamics that you'd expect from a project like this and it certainly places melancholy at the forefront of your mind when listening to its two winding songs.

Overall, it's great to hear musicians stepping across genres, even ones like doom and death metal, who's lines have been crossed so many times now. This demo is an assured start for Soliloquium and I look forward to seeing how it develops in the future, as the duo are currently working on new material.

The Doom and the Gloom - 70%

BlackWidow1992, September 7th, 2012

"When Silence Grows Venomous" is the debut single by the Swedish death/doom act Soliloquium. To tell you the truth, even though I'm a doom metal fanatic, I never really ventured into the realm of death/doom before, besides some older groups like Dream Death. I can't say that I care for death metal vocals for the most part, but some albums/bands utilize them well or enough for me to not even notice, or even enjoy them as much as clean vocals. With that known, I have to say that after listening to this demo I can put Soliloquium into the list of bands that utilize death vocals well in my opinion. The vocals are not too overbearing like in a lot of other releases I have listened too. They are in just the right spot in the mix; not too high, not too low. There is also some really nice clean vocals scattered throughout that breaks up what could have been a very monotonous listen.

The production is quite clear and crisp for being a demo. All the instruments are heard clearly, and the guitars have that dirge quality that is the signature of doom metal. I have to say though, the drums are a little low in the mix; I think it would have given the demo a little more bite if they were raised a little bit, though this is only a minor complaint. The bass, however, is not very audible in the mix at all, with the guitars dominating for the most part. The two songs have a mix of a more typical doom metal sound (slow tempos, heavy guitars, etc.) and also some nice clean guitar parts scattered throughout that add some songwriting variety as well as some more melodic tinges to their doom sound.

To sum it all up, I think with a little time, these guys could make some noise in the death/doom genre. They have the chops and the songwriting abilities to make a great album in the future, and I will be looking forward to more material from these guys! There demo is available for free, so there is no reason why any death/doom metal fan shouldn't give these tracks a chance. Even more traditional doom fans like myself may find something to like on this demo. Give it a listen!

Not killing you softly - 70%

autothrall, August 31st, 2012

Soliloquium (try saying that with your mouth full) is the latest project of two gentlemen who hail from a pair of other underground Swedish acts I've covered: Desolator and Ending Quest, both of which are cast in a more decidedly death metal mold. When Silence Grows Venomous is their first stab at an atmospheric death/doom aesthetic, and the duo has been offering it for free over at their Bandcamp. Judging by what I've heard in these two tracks, I'd have to say the demo is worth checking out, for while it doesn't exactly bring anything new to the table, it exhibits a strong knowledge of the niche's fundamentals, and a firm awareness of the suffering with which it seeks to burden its audience.

Clearly you've got the trace elements of early Anathema or My Dying Bride here, circa the spacious and mourning guitar drudge and broad, guttural vocal inflection, and the lack of apprehension at incorporating cleaner sequences with both the guitar and vocal. Yet, there's also this constant surge of melody being expanded above the simpler chord set, which reminded me of fellow Swedish monoliths October Tide and Isole, and really helping to keep the listener invested in what might otherwise prove a slog. Both of the two tracks clock in at 7-8 minutes, with neither becoming boring whatsoever. There isn't a lot to the lethargic drums here apart from the occasional fill or double bass, but the guitars are so omnipresent that I felt like I didn't need much more than that, and I must compliment the vocals, which definitely take a broader spin on the Dan Swano style. The cleaner timbre used for the end of "Garden of Truculence" isn't exactly distinct, nor evocative of much range, but then, the solemn and slightly monotonous pitch is suitable to the gloom of the guitars.

They'll also pick up the pace from time to time, with bolder, rock-out rhythms redolent of Tiamat, Lake of Tears or Cemetery, and when the growl erupts over a sequence like this, the band takes you away to that obscure paradise available only in Swedish doom. Rhythm guitar riffs are hardly inventive or unique, but to a long time fan of records like Clouds, Black Vanity, Headstones or Rain Without End, this familiarity won't prove much of an obstacle. The bass-lines don't exactly thrill me, they seem content to meander along with the guitar for the most part, but the tone is affluent and adds a little depth. In terms of production, I do feel like the drums could benefit from a boost to their volume, and I would say the same for the melodies, but otherwise this is clear and present for a free demo recording, and with a little more time and energy the rest could easily be fixed. Ultimately, When Silence Grows Venomous is one of the stronger works I've heard from these two, and it delivers exactly what it promises, a slew of saddening dynamics that shall wrench despair from the Autumn air.