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Solstice : Halcyon

'Halcyon' is a collection of the first 5 years of Solstice. Due to endless line-up and label problems, Solstice has suffered a lot the last few years. It also caused this album to be "delayed" for a long time, because the label they licensed it to went bankrupt! Fortunately, with the help of friends the band managed to retrace their old work and slap on a few additional tracks. And here we are, 'Halcyon' re-released.

Personally, I am glad they managed to get this release out to a wider audience. This is a prime example of solid traditional Doom-metal, with at times a good dose of Heavy-metal. Solstice know the trick of the trade well, and it shows. This is no Death-Doom, there are no Gothic-metal influences nor is it a Stoner Rock 'N Roll fest. These are epic, long-winded wailing songs that drag themselves forth at good old slow doomy pace. Bands like Candlemass or Solitude Aeternus can be proud.

There are two odd ones out on this album, first there is the title track. This is a nice medieval non-metal piece of music, something I'd much sooner associate with pure Neo-Medieval gothic outfits like perhaps Caprise. Solstice show they also master this style, as it's a nice enjoyable intermezzo from the misery found on this album.

The second odd one out is not something I myself am particularly fond off, but which of course is part of the package that is Solstice: the Manowar cover 'Gloves of Metal'. Being huge Manowar fans, it does not surprise me Solstice choose to cover them. While the song fits the "True™ metal" image Solstice are fond off, musically it does not fit at all. Manowar songs like 'Defender', 'Burning', 'Guyana' or even 'Army of the Immortals' (if they wanted it to be about "heavy metal") might have fitted much better with Solstice's own sound. In fact I can think of a dozen or so Manowar songs that could be converted to Doom-metal with much more ease.

All in all, this is an album for the fans of old school Doom-metal - the heavy-metal way - who are not interested in the whole Stoner hype (who often also lay claim on being old school due to their heavy 'Sabbath influence). The fact that they inject their music with a massive dose of Heavy-metal, might however mean they won't appeal to fans of Death-Doom or more romantic/atmospheric Doom freaks.

Incidentally, with the hidden bonus track on this album Solstice prove to have a great sense of humour. A speedy version of old game music! Absolutely hilarious, it had me rolling around on the floor. My deepest respect to Solstice for that one. Absolutely brilliant!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. The Ravenmaster
2. To Ride With Tyr
3. Graven Deep
4. Halcyon
5. Gloves of Metal
6. Only the Strong
7. Winter Moon Rapture

Duration : Approx. 45 minutes.

Visit the Solstice bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Aldo Quispel
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