Solemnity - King Of Dreams 2003 Remedy Records - Reviewed by EC
1. Fire In Mainstreamland 2. Kill The Majesty 3. The Ninth Gate 4. King Of Dreams 5. Vampire's Dance 6. Spirits Of The Dead 7. In Dubio Pro Sathanas 8. Heart Of A Raven
I don't know what it is about this album, but I really can't get into it. I've tried for months and its just not doing it for me. I really enjoy this band's debut, "Reign In Hell" so much that I swore they couldn't possibly make a bad record. I'm not calling this follow-up a bad record, but I will say its disapointing to say the least.
Germany's Solemnity tore through the power metal scene with their debut album, with plenty of intricate guitar flashes and a solid no filler tracklisting to boot. It was great, absolutely splendid...perhaps one of my most played albums of 2002. Things couldn't have gotten better.
Then the second offering came to bat, "King Of Dreams". This album has its ups and downs, and honestly I really enjoy some of these tracks. Others I just can't find any place for.
Lets get down to business with the goods. "Fire In Mainstreamland", "Kill The Majesty", "Spirits Of The Dead", and "Heart Of A Raven" are heavy metal thunder through and through. Lets say Cirith Ungol meets Abattoir, and throw in some Death SS for seasoning. These tracks are solid, well played power thrash metal that really moves the listener and brings back the vibe from the band's debut record. It worked for that album and on these few songs it works well for this one. "Fire In Mainstreamland" is about as brutal as power metal can get, throwing in plenty of rapid double bass and an evil chorus that you will want to sing again and again. "Kill The Majesty" and "Heart Of A Raven" gallops along at Iced Earth speed, throwing a bit of 80s US metal onto the field. Unfortunately this isn't an EP, so we have to talk about some of the other songs.
"King Of Dreams". Title track. Should be pretty decent. Well its really not. This song just lacks that special something that power metal bands really need to set them apart from all the others. I can't find any purpose here, nor can I find it with songs like "The Ninth Gate" and "Vampire's Dance" which has some guest vocals from Death SS mikeman Steve Sylvester. Its really missing that important ingredient to turn it around. These songs really don't sound like anything from the first album, and thats okay. But the first album's material really worked well with this band and the listener. This new material is so gothic oriented that I almost think of Moonspell and Tiamat at times. Just really avant-garde instead of no-holds-barred Agent Steel-Exciter type stuff.
This is the second album and everyone knows about the sophomore curse. Lets see what album three does before we jump to conclusions. One half of this album is great, the other rather dull.
I would like to take this opportunity and wish Sven "The Axe, frontman for Solemnity, the best of luck as he rehabilitates from a stage injury he sustained earlier this year. Get back on your feet and throw record three at us!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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