The hugely skilled doom/drone metal entity that is Solstorm performed a short and concise yet hard-hitting and memorable set at the Apollon record store in the city center of Bergen, Norway. In many ways, the entire event served as a teaser of sorts in the sense that their brand new opus entitled II was releases shortly after and so we were treated to three long, sprawling compositions from the aforementioned record. Again, this was merely a mini-concert and not an actual release party or anything of that sort, but the band came across as utterly confident and the wall of sound that they conjured up on that tiny stage was downright massive not to mention damn-near impenetrable – such was the power and intensity with which they tore through their new material. Dissonant melodies, unsettling noise, crushing riffs, drums that will make your bones snap, clever song arrangements, and an atmosphere that reeks of existential despair and loathing – that is essentially what these morose scumbags offer and they do so with style and conviction.
Yours truly has had the pleasure of attending a handful of Solstorm gigs in the past and they pretty much always deliver a great show, but there was something special and rather intimate about witnessing tonight’s 35-minute set in such a tiny locale with only 25-30 people present there. The sound was surprisingly decent too and you could hear all the instruments as well as the many layers and nuances present in their dense tunes quite clearly. The highlight of the evening was the majestic and strangely hypnotic ‘Eklips‘, which is unarguably one of their finest and most rewarding pieces to date.
As to the new album (out now), II is the sound of a descending darkness that is so prevalent that one can almost reach out and touch it. Immersing oneself in it is akin to being trapped in a vortex of deep-seated loneliness and agony, so if this particular brand of doom/drone metal sounds appealing to you, I strongly recommend that you get a hold of this compelling output as soon as humanly possible.
II is out now via Apollon Records and available in various formats, namely vinyl, CD, and as a digital stream/download.