Winter Solstice The Fall of Rome

Providing a darker, more ominous alternative to the unintentionally comical bounce of modern metalcore, Winter Solstice establish themselves as a cut above the rest within seconds. Opener "Following Caligula” sets a challenging standard; the group utilises a refined, minor-key melodic progression over a thundering double-bass volley before breaking into a stuttering mosh groove more akin to the likes of Between the Buried and Me or A Life Once Lost than average Metal Blade genre signings. Make no mistake, though — this is metalcore, tried, tested and true, not a desperately pretentious genre fusion bid or yet another core-ified Meshuggah knock-off. The production is well-rounded and slightly muddy, which aids the bands overall downbeat tone and keeps them from veering too close to their already painfully obvious influences. Some effort was clearly put into the conceptual presentation as well — the lyrics come across as well-developed and mature, as opposed to melodramatic rambling. While not without its flaws — Winter Solstice are clearly not out to reinvent the wheel, and the music frequently comes across as all too familiar — The Fall of Rome is, for lack of a more flattering term, solid. (Metal Blade)