Solitude Aeturnus - Alone

9 songs
60:30 minutes
***** ****


Nowadays doom metal can be anything from the more melodic and slower kinds of death metal to the really extreme stuff we get from Southern Lord, and we forget all too often that in the late Eighties and early Nineties, doom metal was starting out as a genre of itself, heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, with bands like Cathedral, Stillborn and Revelation being some of the pioneers, although Texans Solitude Aeturnus can be considered one of the genre's most original bands. Releasing five albums in the Nineties, they created ultra-heavy and near-symphonic hymns that lived off John Perez' trademark guitar playing and Robert Lowe's plaintive yet charismatic vocals.

Solitude Aeturnus were therefore, next to the ubiquitous Cathedral, the only doom band I never really lost interest in, although after their fifth album Adagio, I thought that we would never hear of them again. OK, so it took them eight years, and the only original members left are Perez and Lowe (without whom this wouldn't be Solitude Aeturnus anyway), but Alone continues not only where they left off at the end of the millennium, they even sound as great and fresh as on their two first albums.

Alone starts with the ten minute epic Scent Of Death, and is followed my eight more or less long epic melodic doom slabs that are among the best the genre has to offer these days. It's hard to believe that next year, this band will have been active for twenty years already, so fresh do they still sound. It's hard to pick out highlights, because the album is moving at a constantly high level, and even if you want to complain that the songs feel too much at ease in mid-tempo territories, the overall hypnotic atmosphere makes you forget that there is not too much distinctive variation, and in the end Alone sounds like one hell of a doom metal trip, that never even thinks of using any metal cliché , but joyfully squanders through one hour of great music that every fan of solemn rocking metal music should like.

Alone is not the standout classic that Into The Depths Of Sorrow and Beyond The Crimson Horizon were, but it is so much more than you could have expected from a band on an eight year leave that I can't but hand out nine points. Had this been a newcomer album, it would even have gotten the maximum rating. Near perfect doom stuff!

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