Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The Finnish Sophomore Fatum strikes again - 90%

turnip90210, March 22nd, 2016

It might be a funny coincidence, but it seems that a lot of Finnish death bands start catching their stride with their second releases. Some examples would include Scum, whose rather coarse debut got followed by one of the finest melodic death albums ever committed, Rippikoulu (Musta Seremonia doesn’t really need an introduction), or new kids Krypts who hit it out of the park with their majestic sophomore EP. That’s not to say that this trend is specific to Finns only, or that no Finnish band emerged fully formed – look no further than Tenebrae, who have been kicking ass and taking names since their first tape. Swallowed is another counterexample as a late bloomer. It’s just a curious trend, that’s all.

Solothus could be classified as part of the large revivalist cohort that brought us Krypts, Stench of Decay and Swallowed, but they’ve had a niche of their own since the get-go – death/doom, with some additional sprinkles that lend a kick to the traditional Finnish morbidity. This helped their riffs come alive and grow some character of their own, making their debut enjoyable and quite discernible. The guys haven’t been resting on their laurels for the past three years though, as the follow-up record sees them hone their sound and deliver a true cracker, with the Finnish sophomore fatum possibly blowing some non-existent history-repeating wind in their sails.

At the foundation of every successful doom/death album lie powerful, crushing riffs. It doesn’t take long for No King Reigns Eternal to deliver the goods, as a cavernous bass intro is followed by a swift detuned gut-punch. There’s no let-up in sight, not a single clean moment all album long, but Solothus makes sure to keep the delivery varied and the pacing varies from absolutely glacial, world-frozen-solid doom displays to upper medium tempo death tremolo gallops. The most memorable moments come out of the mid paced sections, with the record-opening riff being given a run for its money by the venomous, rolling romp of the title track and the mildly cliché, yet still effective root-note-into-power-chord build up of the interlude of “Malignant Caress”.

Going back to the opening seconds of “The Betrayer”, another thing becomes apparent pretty quickly – when not parked at base camp low B, the guitars offer some rather juicy, dissonant interplay. It’s not just power chords and single note melodies here, ladies and gentlemen, and the harmonic ideas are wonderful. This was already hinted at on their debut release, but truly comes into its own here. If presented out of context, the opening 3/4 torn speaker bleach of “Darkest Stars Aligned” could probably pass as some form of modulation-restrained shoegaze. Solothus isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel here, but the harmonies help give them an edge over a number of other representatives of the genre.

Another edge comes in the form of confident and well sculpted lead playing. The lead parts are perfectly restrained, only ever veering off towards flamboyant in the extended play-your-heart-out album closing solo, and help steer the songs towards everything from ethereal (“The Betrayer”) to the borderline psychotic (“Malignant Caress”). The guy’s vibrato is even more effective than it was on the debut – it may seem like a small thing, but the deliberate, slow, wide arching of the notes really helps drive the message home in a latter-day Crypt of Kerberos sort of way. Delightful.

No King Reigns Eternal sees Solothus do everything they did right on their debut even better, cashing in on every last ounce of potential. The songs are better strung together, the riffs are more focused yet more varied, whilst the lead (taking on the form of melodies and harmonies) seals the deal and makes everything complete. Another one for the funny coincidence book, another Finnish death band hitting their stride on their second release. Here’s to hoping that they pave a destiny all of their own from here, with many solid albums, and don’t do a Scum and drop off the face of the Earth. History doesn’t have to repeat itself there.