Since leaving Scar Symmetry in 2008, Christian Älvestam has become a one-man cottage industry. Actually, it may be more accurate to say that he and Finnish multi-instrumentalist Jani Stefanović have operated as a two-man cottage industry. Their results have ranged from okay to superior.
Both of them have joined forces in three bands: Solution .45 (okay), Miseration (very good), and The Few Against Many (superior). It won’t surprise anyone to know that my highly subjective one-word quality rankings increase in exuberance in direct relationship to the changing extremity of the music.
Solution .45’s last album, For Aeons Past (2010), is the closest of the three to the soundscape of Scar Symmetry — lyrical, melodic, slower-paced than the works of the other two bands, and featuring a roughly even mix of clean and harsh vocals. I gave it an “okay” rating simply because those aren’t the qualities I’m usually after.
Miseration, on the other hand, is almost dead center in my sweet spot. I reviewed the last album, The Mirroring Shadow (2010), here. I didn’t think it was ground-breaking, mold-shattering work, but I sure as hell enjoyed its marriage of big, fast, vicious, technical death metal, clawing tremolo-picked guitars, heavy groove, and razor-sharp production. Foregoing any semblance of clean singing, Älvestam instead gave his magnificent harsh vocals an album-length workout.
What I didn’t know about until yesterday (thanks to an e-mail from TheMadIsraeli) was the third post-Scar Symmetry project that Älvestam, Stefanović, and their bandmates have cooked up — The Few Against Many. For reasons I’ll explain after the jump, it’s the cream of the crop.
Now here’s what gives this recap some currency: As I learned from poking around Facebook yesterday, Älvestam and Stefanović are either writing or beginning to record new albums for all three bands, more or less at the same time! Continue reading »