Sunday, February 10, 2013
Solothus - Ritual of the Horned Skull [Demo] 
Last year I had the pleasure to carry the burden of Finnish death/doom monstrosities Solothus' ''Ritual Of The Horned Skull'' EP, and endeavor I felt was one of the better death/doom interpretations of the last 4-5 years with bustling, semi-cavernous index and busy, climatic riffs that were placed in sort of the milieu of primitive death/doom circa 1989-1994 and a more established, polished offering of the same sub-genre that was substantially upgraded and polished by late to mid 90's connoisseurs Runemagick, Paradise Lost, etc, and even more modern projects of melodious, cavern-dwelling disembowelment projects like Hooded Menace or Coffins - a certainly copious range of macabre influences that all have their places secured in a gnostic burial ground near the local cemetery. Yet, there will undoubtedly be a handful of scoffers, demanding to know what the Finns have to top their already prodigious predecessors which have spawned in the last 5 years or so. Yes, Solothus are nothing quite out of the ordinary, bearing minor contrast only thanks to their larger intake of Runemagick influences, but there's much more to this hillock of bones than the eye meets.
As I stated, Solothus' entire bevy of groove-laden riffs fall somewhere between the more ''epic'' and edgy facet of death/doom and the more grotesque, and veritable churning of melodic exhibitions delivered through a manifest of horrendous old school depictions. Solothus are simply fantastically authentic, equating the masterful measure of doom, gloom and harmony into one versatile, bone-laced package, with an unrelenting undercurrent of vulgarity seething underneath it all. There's an elephantine slurry; a punching, ghastly monster of a tone that splashes around wildly in accordance to the medium tempo of the bruising drums, and like on ''A Call To War'', the band injects minor dozes of clamorous, distorted chords which instantly render the orchestration a morbidly defiant serpentine, belching bile and vomit as it stampedes. The songs are all shrewdly arranged; they're not stretched into drudging funeral doom epics of over 7 minutes; they're kept at the optimum length of about 4-5 minutes, and Solothus are obviously more keen in conversing at mid-tempo gait than turtle-slowness. They also tend to stick to a lesser flock of riffs than many of their peers incline to do, supposedly to turn the whole experience into a more absorbing one, but Solothus exceed many of their counterparts in both quality and distribution, each song a successful homage to sweltering death and doom.
Simply put, the Finns are more enthralling than the majority of their cavern-dwelling peers, deeply punging into the macabre without weaving superfluous quantities of complexities while doing so, and simply keeping the listener at bay throughout 20 minutes by continuously craving similar but very enjoyable, grooving riffs. Undeniably, there could have been a tidbit of more variation to embody an even more gruesome manifest of horror, but I'm still hardly malcontent with my current reservoir. The first two songs, ''A Call To War'' and ''Throne Of Bones'' mostly represented what the band's savager ideas clustered around, but ''Embrace Of Cold'', and even more so, ''Darkness Gathers Here At Night'', were fully turning on the more melodious inflection on, and barely Gothic interpretations made tangible with the use of vibrant, fibrous collections of melody, so they're definitely heading for a more solemn and harmonious approach; something quite akin to Hooded Menace and what they achieved with their latest full-length. Well, these Finns have captured the true grooving essence of old school death/doom, a horrific congealment of bones and mourn, so a full-length will definitely be welcome.
Darkness Gathers Here At Night
Embrace The Cold
A Call To War