I must be honest, when i heard that Solace was finally bringing out a new album, it made me worried. After all its been 7 years since their last album 13, was released. A lot can happen in 7 years and when it comes to bands, quite often bands lose their edge, changed their style or even worse go commercial. In the case of the new Solace album called A.D, i was elated to hear the band still kicks some major ass and they still have all the elements which made this band great in the first place. Now the 13 album was one of my favorite albums of 2003, so sliding this new album into the CD player, i broke out into a sweat with nervous anticipation. When "The Disillusioned Prophet" hit my eardrums, it was a wonderful experience as the band is still pretty much the same but their musical chops seem to be more refined and tighter than ever before. The 7 year break hasn't gone un-wasted it seems because there has been some obvious growth in the band technical abilities as musicians. The opening track features some of the best vocal work Jason has ever laid down and the guitar solo is pure inspirational stuff. There is a kind of classy element to it, you could even put in the classic rock category as it stinks of a Tony Iommi meets Jimmy Page type of quality. "The Immortal, the Dead and the Nothing" which is the second track is another killer track, the almost complex blending of acoustic and electric guitars and the mammoth layered vocals show the band has gain a certain amount of progressive rock qualities while still remaining a kick-butt outfit.
"Six Year Trainwreck" has some real catchy riff work while "Za Gamman" hints at the Solace of old as its more in the sludgy, doom vein. A.D really takes off at this point in the album not that the earlier tracks don't blow you over, its just at track four you get the sense that this album is not only a keeper but just maybe is Solace's holy grail of recordings. "Borrowed Immunity" is a groove based track and is pretty straight-forward compared to a lot of other tracks on A.D. Its not less memorable however as it has another great riff and more dynamic vocals from Jason. The guitar duo of Tommy Southard and Justin Daniels really shine on this album but its tracks like "Borrowed Immunity" where the interplay between these two guys is immaculate. "Down South Dog" is a constantly changing stoner boogie tune that never gets dull over its eight minutes. Made up of separate parts rather than the typical verse/chorus, it is a engaging track from start to finish.
When that leads into "The Eyes of the Vulture" which is pure meat and potatoes rock and roll and again the band is on fire. Its one of the more basic tunes but stands up on its own on the album. "The Skull of the Head of a Man" brings back the bands hardcore roots for 2 minutes of aggressive shouting punk rock but still with some of the most catchy hooks you will hear this year, short and sweet this leads into the finale of the album and its a doozy. "From Below" is doom the way Solace do it best, which is with tempo changes and different musical textures but this is one of the darkest chunks of doom the band has ever written. Chugging, twisting and turning and full of pleasant musical surprises, this is a mesmerizing slab of doom rock for its entire 9-10 minutes. There is everything from a wah-wah guitar section to a throaty, shouting aggressive climax, its diverse and totally addictive listening. Then its all over, this is a defining moment in the career of Solace and one you wont want to miss. Still underground and under appreciated by most, this is album that deserves to be played to death. About as close to perfect as you can get. Amen! 9.5/10
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