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Worries put to Rest - 90%

Stained Glass Assassin, March 14th, 2019

When the news broke that, Christian Älvestam was departing Scar Symmetry, I was left wondering what would be next for both the band and Älvestam. Of course, Scar Symmetry would carry onward with two additional vocalists, but what of Älvestam? Fortunately, a band named Solution .45 happened to be searching for the last piece of their puzzle, which just so happened to be a vocalist. A vocalist that just so happed to fit the mold of Älvestam perfectly. And with that, the puzzle was complete.

Now, Älvestam is involved with a number of active bands including, Miseration, The Few Against Many, Torchbearer, to name a few and while it’s certainly not on the level of Rogga Johansson, I was still wondering how much attention he would devote to Solution .45. In addition, I was of course worried that this new outfit would simply be a clone of Scar Symmetry, so their debut “For Aeon’s Past” had a lot to prove in my eyes.

The first thing I will state is that, yes, this does sound a lot like Scar Symmetry. It is melodic death metal with deep and dark passages of music sung with the duel vocals of both an angel and a demon in Älvestam. But, let’s be honest. Älvestam vocals were the major drawn to Scar Symmetry, no matter how you want to spin and as such, his vocals would be the main draw to Solution .45. Älvestam’s uncanny ability to shift from death growls and guttural vocals to clean and crisp cleans is simply beautiful. Unless he were to sing in any other manner (such as Torchbearer’s “Warnaments”), they will always be the standout sound of any band he’s affiliated with.

Those magical vocals are point on display front and center from the very opening of the album and carry on until the very end. The one aspect about this album that had me worried was how much effort would Älvestam put forth. The answer; plenty and then some. These are easily some of his best vocals in my opinion. His growls and low vocals are very dark and energetic, while his cleans carry so much passion and emotion that you can tell he has his heart into the music.

Now, with that said, let’s discuss how Solution .45 differs from Scar Symmetry. As I said, yes this is melodic death metal, but as Scar Symmetry had more of a futuristic almost Sci-fi atmosphere to its sound, Solution .45 focuses on creating a catchy death metal sound influenced heavily by death/metalcore hybrids such as In Flames and Soilwork. This results in a death metal that is both melodic and groovy, without the futuristic sound, and with an extra punch of lyrical composition, which is the major difference between the two bands.

The guitars on employ a twin guitar sound, which allows the band to create some captivating leads and well executed solos. Just about every song shows off Jani Stefanović’s ability as he creates more than one section of dazzling guitar work. Often, his work acts as a build up to either one of Älvestam explosive passages or a segue to one of his many majestic clean sections. I won’t snub Tom Gardiner’s work, as he creates plenty of hefty riffs, that at times, chug along with a thick overtone and at others, carry a groovy sound that plays oh so nicely with both Stefanović’s rhythms and Älvestam vocals.

The drums on this album is varied in both tempo and sound, which creates an excellent pace while complimenting both the guitars and vocals. There are of course, plenty of blasts and bass kicks to be heard, but I was most impressed with Rolf Pilve’s ability to create both a bombastic sound, while immediately being able to temper the mood with the use of a slower pace beats and soft cymbals that ease the listener and also help transition the vocal passages.

Unfortunately, the bass on this album seems to be either a victim of production (not sure how, everything else sounds great) or was simply, not in the overall plans of the songwriting. Don’t get me wrong, it can be heard from time to time, but for the most part, it’s just hanging around in the background, adding a little additional sound.

After multiple listens, it’s safe to say that all of my concerns worries were put to rest in regards to “From Aeon’s Past”. I found myself receiving a healthy satisfaction of the Scar Symmetry I feared never to hear again, which was nice. At the same time, I was also treated to a new and invigorating band that was carried by Älvestam vocals, which leaves me with hope. It really is a win-win situation if you enjoy post- Älvestam Scar Symmetry, which I do, as there are now two bands creating excellent melodic death metal. For me, this album was a huge success and one can only hope future releases maintain the momentum Solution .45 built with “Form Aeon’s Past”

Highlights: “For Aeon’s Past” “Lethean Tears” “Wirethrone” “Bladed Vaults”

Into the Abyss of Oblivion