Solstice Coil Natural Causes- 2011
RMR Album Rating- 4 (Good)
It’s always nice for an album to surprise you, especially when it exceeds the quality and style preconceptions that you had fabricated for it before actually hearing it.
I was expecting Solstice Coil’s second release Natural Causes to be a decent prog metal album performed in the style of Dream Theater. I had based my assumptions on two facts. First, I knew that Solstice Coil were Dream Theater fans. Secondly, before I had really spent any time with the album, I had listened to the first two tracks a few times, and they are undoubtedly prog metal tracks inspired by Dream Theater, especially the second track, “Outcomes Inevitable.” It’s a great 2-minute instrumental track that reminds me of Dream Theater’s “Dance of Eternity.” Both songs have very playful piano sections that transition into great heavy progressive metal sections.
Click here to listen to Solstice Coil’s Outcome Inevitable
Click here to listen to Dream Theater’s The Dance Of Eternity
Circling back to my opening comments, this album really did surprise me–because aside from the first two tracks, it is much more of an alternative prog album than a prog metal album. There are definitely elements of prog metal laced through the entire release, but there are equal elements of alternative rock as well, as I can hear clear traces of Radiohead, Muse, and A Perfect Circle.
In addition to the double punch of the first two songs that I already mentioned, I also really like “Moral Oxidation,” which features phenomenal guitar work from Opher Vishnia and loads of pace changes. There’s also the centerpiece of the album and my favorite track “Walking Graveyards,” which is Shir Deutch’s shining vocal moment on the album. The song starts as a ballad, but it shifts back and forth between soft sections and metal sections, making it completely memorable.
Click here to listen to Moral Oxidation
Click here to listen to Walking Graveyards
All in all, Solstice Coil’s “Natural Causes” is a satisfying listen. Their brand of alternative progressive rock is unique, and it is completely different from what most progressive bands with a penchant for metal are doing. I really hope they continue to balance their alternative and progressive tendencies and continue to explore the alternative side of their sound. They are certainly a band to keep an eye on, and they are definitely one of the best bands that you’ve never heard of.
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