Over the course of the three albums he recorded with Scar Symmetry, Swedish vocalist Christian Älvestam proved himself one of the most versatile performers of his generation, equally capable of delivering pristine soaring melodies and grotesque, guttural Cookie Monster growls without any apparent effort (suffice to say his previous band needed two guys to replace him). Although it is his name grabbing the spotlight whenever his latest pursuit, Solution .45, is discussed, the singer was, in fact, a late addition to the group founded in 2007 by Finnish guitarist Jani Stefanovic. Älvestam did assist with co-composing much of the music for their debut album, For Aeons Past, but ceded the floor to Dark Tranquillity frontman Mikael Stanne when the time came to pen its lyrics. This detail helps to explain why Solution .45's peculiar brand of melodic/progressive/power/death metal differs quite a bit from Scar Symmetry's style of, errr…melodic/progressive/power/death metal. Primarily this is because it places a little more emphasis on its aggressive qualities over the accessible ones, and separates dark from light on individual tracks more often than not, rather than blending everything together at virtually all times. To wit, forceful examples like "The Close Beyond" and "Through Night-Kingdomed Gates" feature bludgeoning grooves of Meshuggah-like heft, while the hyperactive ballad (you read right; hearing is believing) "Lethean Tears" joins the doom-like slow march of "Into Shadow" on the opposite end of the spectrum. Better than both extremes are the tracks like "Gravitational Lensing," "Bladed Vaults," and "On Embered Fields Adust" (whatever that means), which allow Älvestam's stunning clean singing to enjoy pride of place, despite still keeping his choruses tethered to the always busy but tightly regimented instrumental displays bubbling underneath. And even though everything in the band's creative arsenal and the kitchen sink is finally tossed into the obviously prog-inspired, 16-minute closing colossus, "Clandestinity Now" [sic], Solution .45's schizophrenia still favors the extreme elements of their palette first and foremost. This, in conjunction with an absent sense of all-binding concept album schematics, ultimately helps For Aeons Past stand apart from the music of Älvestam's former band, but there is still some work to be done before Solution .45 carves a clear career path of its own.
For Aeons Past Review
by Eduardo Rivadavia