Looking back over the last 365 days, it became a challenge to remember a single death/doom album that crossed our paths, let alone stood out from the crowd. Somewhere in 2012, the Draconian's of the world faded into the background, leaving a gaping void in the metal landscape. Or at least, from where we sit, it seemed that way. It became like watching an old friend move away; you know he or she is living somewhere else, but you don't know what they're up to. And much like that old friend, a simple e-mail can remind you. So when a message came through the tubes of the interwebs from a band called Soliloquium, it was a reminder that although the genre had faded to my periphery, it hadn't gone away. The Swedish two piece made up of guitarist and vocalist Stefan Nordström and bassist Jonas Bergkvist may only have a year under the belts with this project, but they can carry the collective weight of the genre on the backs of their demo material. On their second offering, the three track demo titled "The Concept Of Escape," an old friend returns with a new found power.
Within the first few moments of "Crossroads," you find yourself transported back to the death/doom arena that was so crowded a short time ago. A constant presence of double kick drums and thumping percussion becomes the base for a bounty of staples. The growling vocals, provided by Nordstrom, are enough to awaken your bowels. There tone is bolstered by the ominous instrumental they rest upon. But it is the shift in vocal styles that helps the track progress, with Nordstrom adopting a grating scream at times that does the lion's share of the work. Partnered with an equally versatile instrumental, and you have a tidal wave of sound constantly moving around you. The rules of the game are the same on "Remnants of Dying Dreams," though the energy level goes through the roof. Massive drum fills are ever present, leaving it to a solemn guitar melody to take the wheel, alongside another guttural vocal performance. But it is the short clean guitar work in the midsection that changes the entire complexion of the demo, showing off a brilliant and sophisticated grasp of progressive elements. With the album closer clocking in at a staggering ten minutes, it makes "Nighttime Revelations" all the more impressive. Not only does the band flex those melodic muscles once again, but in doing so they they strengthen the heavy moments tenfold. This track becomes the true embodiment of the death/doom genre, fully capturing the sound and mood of both in one singular package. The segment that bookends the seven minute mark and rolls into the outro speaks volumes for the maturity on display, and bodes well for the future.
It had been so long since a band occupying the death/doom part of the metal circle had done something profound, or even wholly inspired. It seemed as though, for a short time, that the genre had ceased to exist. But Soliloquium have brought the style back to life with a simple three song demo, awakening inner demons that haunt us all. Through the combination of distortion, emotion, and an impressive grasp on songwriting, Nordstrom and Bergkvist have crafted three pieces that represent not only where they are as musicians, but where the genre stands. Even without the backing of a major label (yet), I would challenge any fan of metal to find any separation between what you have here, and what some of the titans of the industry have put out. In the span of a year, with two demos now out and under their collective belts, You have a quality of song and strength of sound that would rival the best. All that remains now is for the band to turn "The Concept Of Escape" into the reality of success.
Bandcamp - http://soliloquium.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Soliloquium/236215949804095