steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"13" CD

MeteorCity Records

Genres: stoner rock, doom rock, heavy metal

PO Box 40322
Albuquerque, NM

Feb 24 - Mar 2 2003

Whoa Nelly!  Stoner rock has always been out there, but Solace is taking it to a whole new galaxy with 13!  Explosive solos, absolutely monstrous riffs, and even a bit of harmonica characterize the band's incredible style, and their ravaging vocals and destructive drumming further propel them into stoner rock greatness.

"King Alcohol" sums up their style nicely.  Obviously dedicated Sabbath-heads, the four guys responsible for Solace get the track done perfectly; over the course of nearly six minutes, the listener is dropped into a savage world of raucous guitars and throat-busting vocals.  Vile, perhaps - demented, probably - but relentless... definitely.  When Solace are playing, they don't offer any remorse.  The closest you get to a break from the noise is a creepy little movie sample at the start of "Once Around The Sun (Deep Through Time)," which only helps to build the mood before it is blown out of the water by the obligatory onslaught of guitars that follows.

At times, Solace gets a bit more accessible with their style.  "Rice Burner" is a fine example of this - they start off in a dark, mysterious mood, and then add in the guitars, all the while keeping things very catchy so as to enthrall listeners of all musical persuasions.  Though they still retain a vile, powerful spirit, there's a certain tunefulness present that will get you humming along.  As well, its jerky, spasmodic sound is sure to get just about anyone head banging.  Shit yeah.

But, I'd have to say my favourite piece is "Loving Sickness / Burning Fuel".  Even more accessible than "Rice Burner," the piece starts off in a dense sludge of riffs and wicked choruses.  But it reaches its best part once the harmonica is added to the mix.  Joyous yet creepy, the harmonica melds perfectly with the monster riffs accompanying it - the result is a wicked solo that's just as good as anything an axe could pull off.

To put it simply, I highly recommend Solace's 13 to both stoner rock fans and those just interested in getting a taste of the genre.  They've got one of the freshest sounds the metal scene has ever cultivated, and missing out on it would be doing yourself a great disservice.


Fun Fact: Metal fans will be delighted to find a cover of Pentagram's "Forever My Queen" on this disc,  a nice hint as to where Solace's influences lie.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 songs + 1 bonus, distributed by the label, released 2003]