Raw, unadulterated black metal in its purest form, Of Solitude and Solemn paints a bleak, emotional picture with an outstanding two track EP.
Fans of black metal can be a twisted, bitter lot; the music that those fans create can be a thing of tormented beauty. Atmospheric and heavier than a sinking ship, releases are often 10 minutes plus dirges full of simple, yet fleetingly technical riffs and layer upon layer of static noise and emotion. Of Solitude and Solemn (a one man project) on their eponymous EP take all of these truths and paint a tapestry of droning, dark ambiance that’s sure to please fans of the genre.
Joe Hawker (who does everything for the band including cleaning the dishes) does an excellent job on this release. The guitar work moves effortlessly between clean tones and deep, warm distortion. It is odd to associate the term warmth with the guitar work here, as both tracks have that lovely, chilling texture associated with black metal. The drum work is simplistic and maintains the integrity of the work as a whole. The highlight for me was the track Age Upon Age which has a great solo and some droning double bass work at around the six minute mark. Vocally, the EP is a little removed from the traditional screaming associated with the genre. Opting instead for a more haunted, spoken word devliery that is rather effective. The bass, and this may be due to the home grown recording method, is somewhat absent. Normally this would be a bone of contention for me, however; black metal is about presence, and the somewhat muddied recording adds a million pounds of weight to this EP.
Usually at this point in my reviews I like to single out a track that I particularly enjoyed from the release. Seeing that this is a rather ambient release that consists of only two of them I will eschew that tradition. It is certainly worth the effort to jaunt over to the bands page and download Of Solitude and Solemn. Highly recommended, 24 minutes of raw, bleak emotion.
1. The Wanderer
2. Age Upon Age