Words: Craig Hartranft
Solstice Coil is a progressive rock and metal band operating out of Israel since 2001 and features members from another Israeli band, Subterranean Masquerade. They arrive with the their third album, Commute.
Largely, the Solstice style draws from classic and neo-classical progressive rock, then bumps up the riffage and heaviness to give some songs a metal feel. Songs like Forget You Ever Saw Us and The Bargain are some examples of this. The former has the metal strength almost entirely across the entire song. The former starts with dominating riffage but dwindles down to a more moderate piece. After this, Solistice Coil attempts to trip you up and fiddle with your brain with eclectic and technical arrangements. You know, wonking out the time signatures and tempo. Typical prog rock fair. The say their prog rock is also alternative music. But, considering the norm, isn't progressive rock always alternative?
Mostly, I liked parts of songs more than the whole. Like the guitar line in the first half, the solo at the end, and the breakdown with bass and drums at the midpoint, followed by another short solo. Another is the slight acoustic guitar, modest drums, and smoother vocals at the start of Shuffle The Cards. Actually, that song is a good example of vocalist Shir Deutch sounding best when he stays in range. When he gets into a screamo mood, which happens when the music becomes more intense, you get the feeling he really can't sing at all. Shuffle The Cards is also an example where you can catch the melody with some ease. Otherwise, when the band is on full tilt with all instruments engaged and the arrangement getting somewhat cacophonus, the melody takes a beating. Another of those interesting parts comes with in Meltdown. It's lead largely by keyboards, a Mellotron is what it sounds like, but latter has this old school Hammond organ vibe.
There are two songs I enjoyed in toto, mostly because of the melody: Anywhere and An Oldie. Curiously, they're both instrumentals. (I guess that could mean I didn't really like the vocals.) The former is essentially acoustic guitar; the latter adds some nice orchestration to the mix, and some subtle electric guitar. I think, in the end, my conclusion was that I like my prog rock and metal more accessible. Like thhe melody higher, the arrangement more catchy, and the technical wonkery self-evident and not overwhelming. Solstice Coil's approach doesn't often find a balance, at least to these ears. Nevertheless, if you're the traditional prog nerd who'll explore most anything, then Solstice Coil's Communte is definitely worth your attention.
If you're the traditional prog nerd who'll explore most anything, then Solstice Coil's Communte is definitely worth your attention.
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