Solitary – XXV

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.facebook.com/doclabel/
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://www.amazon.co.uk/XXV-Explicit-Solitary/dp/B07VF88VMG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=solitary+xxv&qid=1565445216&s=gateway&sr=8-1
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Official.Solitary/

Band line-up:

Rich Sherrington – Vocals & Guitar
Andy Mellor – Lead Guitars
Gaz Harrop – Bass
Roy Miller – Drums

Tracklisting:

1. Requiem
2. Within Temptation
3. Keep Your Enemies Closes
4. Architects Of Shame (Live)
5. The Diseased Heart Of Society (Live)

 

Review:

Solitary are a thrash metal band on DOC records, who will be celebrating their twenty fifth anniversary, this year. From their beginnings, the band promised to rock out forever and it seems they’re keeping their word. They decided to hit the studio and re-record three classic cuts from their back catalogue ‘Requiem’, ‘Within Temptation’ and ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’ and to put them on their latest album ‘XXV’. At the end of it, they also included two songs from their most recent London gig at the Camden Underworld. 

In terms of songwriting, Solitary aren’t anything special. They’re certainly not Metallica or Megadeth level. Their riffs are frequently relatively basic power chord/root note/pedal tone ideas that relentlessly chug. In contrast, think how ‘Master of Puppets’, uses a wider variety notes that whilst not exactly proggish in sophistication do have that special something that makes them unique. Solitary don’t stand out from any of the bands that copied the thrash big four. To be fair, plenty of the riffs do have stylish embellishments and a certain development which whilst simple is surprisingly effective, but the transformations could have been taken further. 

On the subject of MoP again, that song has some very musical, even classical-style chord progressions in places as well as some strong melodic lines, but you don’t really get that, here. It’s certainly not all bad though, as the musicianship is rather impressive. The drums are beautifully human and tasteful rather than robotic and heavily modified on computer and are quite fun, too. The guitarist also really knows how to shred without coming across as too over indulgent. He even uses a wide variety of scales and arpeggios rather than sticking to nothing but minor and minor pentatonic ideas and he has a killer vibrato.

The band clearly know how to play live. Whilst they are a little scrappy in places (although ‘human’ is perhaps a better word, again), particularly in their slower sections, they perform almost as competently as they do in the studio and they pump the adrenaline at the same time. That should definitely be respected. For such ‘no-going back’, on stage music, the production is surprisingly clear and powerful throughout the performances. It’s actually about as strong as in the first three tracks.  

In conclusion, this stuff has clear strengths and weaknesses. The musicians are up there with Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and even Marty Friedman but the songwriting could have been the product of many thrash metal clones. It IS exciting, with its fast tempos, blast beats and speedy palm muted riffs, but the release is far from a classic. Buy this album if you love the genre, but perhaps not if you’re new to it – there are hundreds of masterpieces out there, you will almost certainly enjoy a lot more. Having said that, if you like unpretentious music with a punky attitude, you may in fact love XXV. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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