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In Solitude Review

by Matt Hensch

I refuse to believe there could possibly be a universe somewhere in the fathomless depths of space and time wherein In Solitude isn't awesome. Their 2011 opus entitled "The World. The Flesh. The Devil" proved to be an exciting portrait of Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden worship all crammed into one unholy gospel of devil-worshipping heavy metal. However, this here debut album seems to be a better representation of their sound overall; it's atmosphere or mood of a classic horror scenario is simply fantastic, like strolling through a graveyard and happening on a coven of witches reciting ancient, blasphemous psalms. Sound a little outlandish? It's not: In Solitude makes that Mercyful Fate-esque creepiness come alive, the essence of nightmares a reality. The record is easier one of the better pieces I've come across, and I think it's simplicity outmatches the compositional upgrade found within In Solitude's second chapter.

One of the more enamoring features of In Solitude's sound is Pelle Εhman's vocal performance. He's somewhat of an anomaly here; not a high-flying Bruce Dickinson or King Diamond banshee as one would expect, but instead his voice crawls and slithers in low tenors, often times conjuring an image of Rob Halford and Danzig fused together. It's a rather simple release at heart, delivering a handful of busty heavy metal tunes led by old-school riffs heavily inspired by the aforementioned bands. In fact, many of the riffs and melodies are excellent representations of old-school glory, but far from mindless mimicry so many groups commit. The songs are certainly more complicated than what they lead on, always stuffing in a variety of riffs and melodies and sections into each piece, and the whole album ends up sounding like a cohesive cut of prime heavy metal.

There's really not much left to discuss about the music, because it really is as easy to digest as it sounds, but that certainly doesn't take away from In Solitude's efforts. In fact, I think it makes the whole package more enjoyable; there's no desperation or useless experimentation anywhere. Hell, one would think Hank Shermann and Michael Denner contributed the Mercyful Fate vibe on "Kathedral," not that there could be anyone that despises Mercyful Fate worship, mind you. "Beyond is Where I Learn" burns up-tempo riffs like fuel, and that occult/evil atmosphere is just too damn natural to not love. "7th Ghost" has the catchiest chorus, "The Monolith" stands as an anthem to the dark lord's victory, and "Faceless Mistress" struts in a sultry lust that, like the whole record, rocks.

In Solitude's self-titled album sounds real. The production has an edge of grit underneath the whole product that pumps blood and life into the cold, haunting atmosphere of classic heavy metal In Solitude is just captivating at capturing. The record only runs for thirty-six minutes (a little longer if you snag the reissue, which is definitely worth it), eight songs of quick, poignant heavy metal, always keeping it simple and never forcing complicated additives like filler or some type of bust. Nope, this here album is as eerie and nostalgic as it is authentic and faithful, true heavy metal with steel in its blood and riffs to shake the Heavens. Essential? Pretty much.

In Solitude


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