In late 2011 a Finnish band named Solothus released their debut demo, Ritual of the Horned Skull. It drew praise from many reputable sources, but I, being irreparably half-assed, failed to track it down. However, because half of my ass does work reasonably well, I didn’t miss out on a second chance — the chance to hear the band’s forthcoming debut album, Summoned From the Void.
And what do Solothus summon from the void? They summon the gloom of a black storm front, the massive power of a swelling tide, and the chill of a crypt, and they transport all that straight into the listener’s mind — along with melodies both morbid and soulful, and compelling riffs that run the gamut from glacial to galloping.
Some hint of the music’s power comes in the instrumental introductory track, “Frostbane Overture”, as the magisterial sounds of a cathedral organ rise up within the vault, but the peaceful, meditative piano melody that joins the organ music may be a misdirection, for the air soon becomes thick with the atmosphere of doom.
Ancient doom is much of what weights the music — ponderous, booming guitar chords bathed in distortion; anvil-thick bass notes that sound like girders collapsing in slow motion; funereal drumbeats that pound like the steps of giants; bereft melodies moaning the grief of lost souls; and gravelly vocals as deep as ocean trenches, sometimes rising in ghastly howls. It sinks you at the same time as the powerful riffs get your head moving. Continue reading »