Let’s talk about this here band SOLITUDE for a minute, alright? Hailing from Japan, they just released a new album, their third, Reach For the Sky. Available on Test Your Metal Records, this is eight tracks of pure, unadulterated old school metal. Think NWOBHM and traditional metal with a healthy dose of thrash from the mid-to-late 80’s and you’ll get the idea. The first thing that might catch your attention is the guitar work of Shingo Ida, because it certainly caught mine. At times his playing sounds like the bastard child of MOTÖRHEAD and Kill ‘Em All-era METALLICA, which is a wonderful thing.
That MOTÖRHEAD influence is very much there on “Blow,” an all-out rager that only has one gear, the fast one. Akira Sugiuchi’s raspy vocals lend themselves perfectly to this song and the overall vintage feel just works. Drummer Takamasa “MAD” Ohuchi and bassist Toru Nishida are stuck like glue on this and every other song, but they definitely get quite the workout on this track. The title track “Reach For the Sky” has the riffs piled high in anticipation of playing it to a big room full of screaming fans, while “Don’t Need Mercy” is heavily steeped in the thrash/speed metal days of yore. Nishida’s bass repeatedly smacks you in the face, and the guitar solo rips, too.
Opener “Venom’s Angel” starts with sinister, clean guitars, setting the stage for what’s to come, which is power and fury. For the next six minutes the band pounds your head against the concrete, looking to split it open. Instrumental “Escape For the Crime” features more vintage riffing from Ida, complete with some dual-harmonized leads throughout, and it’s another barn-burner from beginning to end. The solo is without a doubt the album’s best, and everything about this track begs you to get in the car and floor it!
“On the Edge of Sorrow” has a real big, beefy sound coupled with a killer groove and tempo, and closer “December” is the album’s epic, clocking in at 8:41. But this song doesn’t go in for the whole theatrical intro and build-up, no sir. It just rocks hard through the whole thing and before you know it, it’s over. And if you’re anything like me you’ll be like, “No way that was almost nine minutes!!” That’s the mark of a good song, one that you can’t believe is over when it is, and one that prompts you to play it again.
All in all, SOLITUDE did a very, very good job with this disc. The album has a real ebb and flow to it, with aggression, power, melody, and good hooks. I’m real curious to see what their next move is, and also how these tracks will sound live. Reach For the Sky is available now wherever it is you maniacs get your music, so pick up a copy and maybe check out a band you’ve never heard before. And if you’re already a fan, go ahead and add this one to your collection, hey?
STANDOUT TRACKS: “December”, “Don’t Need Mercy”, “Escape For the Crime”, “Reach For the Sky”