Solitude Aeturnus have released In Times of Solitude, a compilation of demos and rare tracks all dating back to the eighties. This is a band who haven’t become well known outside of the doom circles, but within those circles they are considered a legend of the genre.
Hailing from Texas, like most band’s who’ve been around for a few decades they’ve seen their fair share of line up changes, John Perez (guitar) is the only original member remaining, but vocalist Robert Lowe has been with them since 1988 (he also sings with Candlemass). The line up now includes Steve Moseley & James Martin both on bass and Steve Nichols on drums. However, because of how early most of these songs were recorded, most of them feature their original vocalist Kris Gabehardt, and the original band line up.
The five opening tracks are taken from the And Justice For All 1988 Demo, two of these were to later appear on the Into The Depths of Sorrow album in 1991, namely Transcending Sentinels and Where Angels Dare to Tread. The demos are poor quality, lacking clarity and distinction between instruments, but let’s be clear here, they were demos recorded in 1988, we can’t be expecting perfection from them.
Transcending Sentinels is a song which still stands up as the perfect example of doom metal. With atmospheric guitar hooks and melancholic vocals whilst being able to pick up tempo and create a strong metal bass line it really is everything that we could want from a doom metal song, and even in demo form it sounds fantastic. Where Angels Dare To Tread is a superb track, it has a strong bass line, clear vocals, intense lyrics and a very well placed guitar break, it’s hard to know why this song hasn’t made it onto an album as a full length track.
The And Justice For All live track is shocking in quality, the vocals are nothing more than background noise, the drums are barely audible and the guitars are about all you can hear. Not a pleasant listening experience.
One thing I would have liked is to have heard these songs recorded with Robert Lowe having recorded the lyrics, his vocals are much stronger and clearer, and he would probably have done these songs much more justice.
Ultimately this is a fan’s album, this is for the dedicated collector of all things Solitude Aeturnus and is definitely not an album for someone wanting an introduction to the genre.
This review was originally written for Alternative Matter, a site which has now closed down.