Solstice Death’s Crown is Victory

Solstice Death’s Crown is Victory
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It's amazing how much one little EP, and more importantly a completely different music climate, can do to reinvigorate a band. Traditional doom titans — and yes, the genre has grown and differentiated enough that this labeling has salience — Solstice have plodded along since the early '90s. Suffering much the same fate as their brothers and sisters worldwide, this epic act wallowed in obscurity, releasing tiny chunks of material while struggling to keep afloat.

Their last full-length, the excellent New Dark Age, came out in 1998. Two compilations, two splits, and a demo followed; a mostly new lineup, save for bandleader and guitarist Richard Walker, was formed. Finally, Solstice is back with new material, and it's the strongest they've yet released.

Triumphant and powerful, Death's Crown is Victory is for the classic doom hounds that walk among us, worshipping Best Record of 2013 contenders Atlantean Kodex, Magic Circle and Procession. Haunting, soaring vocals and colossal guitar tones that weave gracefully amidst the galloping drums reign supreme on this battlefield, evoking elements of metal overlords Manowar, Candlemass and Black Sabbath.

Still, worship or rip-off this is not: instead, Solstice are reclaiming their stake as the emotionally searing and fist-pump-inducing warriors they've always been. Death has been evaded; victory is theirs. (Invictus Productions)