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Review of the Album Pray by American Heavy Metal Band Solstice
Introduction to the Band Solstice
Solstice is an American death/thrash metal band formed way back in 1990 and they are part of the big Florida death metal scene. Their second studio album called Pray released in 1995 is the first album I heard from them and immediately, the best quality about the album is the solid work on the bass guitar.
Solstice Pray CD and Cover Art
Why is the Bass Guitar so Good?
The sound is so clear that you can hear the bass sounds as well as the heavy guitars that dominate the songs.
What Is the Musical Style of the Band Solstice?
Solstice is a band that writes in the style of American death metal band Cannibal Corpse. Musically, Solstice also incorporates early death metal into their music. This is like the early albums such as Leprosy and Spiritual Healing. Vocalist Christian Rudes takes over for Rob Barrett who left this band in 1993 to join Chris Barnes.
Biggest Drawback of the Music of Solstice
However, as with some American heavy metal bands such as Slayer, the music of Solstice becomes too predictable and one dimensional offering the same types of melodies and bass lines.
The Album Pray from the Title Track to Song 8
The song Pray is a criticism of Jesus and the Christian faith as the song’s message is that some people don’t really believe in faith and that faith does not lead to hope but it leads to failure. The vocals tend to resemble those of the late Chuck Schuldiner. The song called Freedom Denied is a song that lyrically shifts away from the typical lyrical themes of lost life and instead this song focuses on the issue of lost individualism and lost freedom as humans are being replaced by machines. Automation is something that is increasing as many have lost their once stable manufacturing jobs. Closeminded Failure is a song that touches lyrically upon a very interesting concept and that is the feeling that freedoms may be eroding in the United States. Dishonesty does corrupt the truth as American values erode when that happens. But once again, Solstice is one of those older American bands that contributed to the solidness of the heavy metal scene in the United States. 1995 was a good year for American heavy metal especially with the release of the album Symbolic. There is melody in the album Pray such as with the song Depression. The song describes the typical symptoms of depression that a person suffers through. The 8th song has some definite Testament based riffing in it but of course, Testament is the better band. Speaking of American death metal, the Florida based band Death may have even had an influence on Solstice because of the vocals, and riffs, especially in the song All Life Lost. The song also has a Pantera influence in it (think of the end of the song This Love as that powerful riff slows down). The Unseen is a song that takes lyrical concepts to a level that some may not want to see and this concept is that some force is seeking to be a detriment to life on this planet. That’s a technical way to word these concepts but Solstice wouldn’t be a technical death metal band though.
Final Thoughts About the Album Pray
How are the last songs on the album? The 9th song called One At a Time sounds a bit like the song Regular People so there’s that Pantera influence again. The song describes some sort of apocalyptic outcome of the world turning into a sort of rough, chaotic place. Overall, the album Pray is a decent death metal album however, it falls well short of the brilliant death metal albums that come from Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
Final Grade as of this writing: 80 out of 100 points.
© 2018 Ara Vahanian