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Much like the Napalm Death (no longer Napalm Dull) disc, Solitude Aeturnus' latest takes its little while to cross the Atlantic to get itself into Canada. Still the disc has arrived and I am glad to report a positive reaction. While the Texans began life churning out the same quality material Candlemass specialized in; the band, not so much due to losing direction but rather because of personal preferences, altered course to lighter/ less epic fare. Adagio (a weak title in itself, but appropriate for the style at hand) offers plenty of soulful doom with high vocals and drawn, personal chords. Tracks like Days of Prayer and Insanity's Circles are some of the best the quintet has penned and will certainly spear head S.A's further ascendance in the metal realm. Having said that, song number seven Mental Pictures borrows freely from (arguably) Black Sabbath's worst: the throw away Zero the Hero. That riff is plain too obvious. Elsewhere The Fall is a shameless filler more at home on a Sisters of Mercy LP than on a metal disc. Lost amidst all all the above is the down-played loss of long time bassist/ lyricist Lyle Steadham whose unique lyrical capabilities were a big part of the entity that this band has always been. Gone is the man with no mention why, and gone are the complex lyrical passages with their Christian-oriented leanings. While spirituality is clearly a concept within Solitude, the lyrics are evidently scaled back. The sum of all parts though, is a must album for doom fans and here's to seeing the band perform live in Canada. - Ali "The Metallian"

In a jungle of doom metal genericisms, where bands constantly rip off Black Sabbath without any hint of originality or blindly follow the discredited trend of employing pop music instrumentation in the form of keyboards, flute and opera singers, one band heralds the existence of true doom metal. Simultaneously, SOLITUDE AETERNUS is riddled with irony after irony in every aspect. Ali “The Metallian” spoke to guitarist John Perez on the eve of the release of the band’s third album, Through The Darkest Hour, and asked him to address these ironies one by one. - 1995

ALI “THE METALLIAN”: The band was both unbilled and unpublicized the first time we met during your tour with Paul Di’Anno.
JOHN: That was the story wherever we went. We were either unbilled or unpromoted. It was a fine tour anyhow and worth it to us. A few came out to see us.

METALLIAN: The band’s first two albums were released through one of the bigger metal-related labels, Roadrunner, which dropped the band.
JOHN: They were signing too many bands. They couldn’t get behind all these bands. Bands like us suffered. They told us we didn’t sell enough records to warrant being on the label. We weren’t a bad seller, but it wasn’t worth their while. Plus, we weren’t getting any tour support. We had a tour lined up with Savatage and Overkill in Europe and Roadrunner wouldn’t offer us support. We were very relived to be dropped. It just was not happening. A band like us needs promotion.

METALLIAN: A Solitude Aeternus bootleg by the name of And Justice For All is being circulated, yet the band does not have its own copy.
JOHN: Oh man, I want that. The guy who put it out never sent us a copy. I would even pay for it. I am flattered that someone would do that, but if I bootlegged something, I would have the decency to send the band some copies.

METALLIAN: The new album is produced by Paul Johnston whose work the band disliked so they refused to work with him on the second album.
JOHN: When we were going to record the second album Monte Connor at Roadrunner suggested we do it with Paul Johnston telling us that he’s worked with Cerebral Fix. I thought their album was horrible so I turned him down at that time. Since then he’s done bands that I am into like Mourn, Cathedral and Decomposed. So we ended up working with him. That’s funny.

METALLIAN: The new album’s name is similar to a Megadeth song on the So Far, So Good, So What album which harbours the same phrase. Yet, no one in Solitude Aeternus is an avid Megadeth listener.
JOHN: We don’t listen to Megadeth. It’s not my kind of music and doesn’t have any bearing on us. Robert listens to their first album, but that’s about it.

METALLIAN: The new album’s opener is decidedly the worst cut off the album and falls short compared to the rest of the material.
JOHN: Falling is very much the least epic and most commercial song. It will attract the most listeners. It is more up-tempo and kicks in with a groove. That song is two-three years old and one of the first we wrote for this album. I am also into the Sabbath/Trouble sound. I can’t write epic doom all the time. In order to keep fresh on the epic metal style I have to write songs that are a bit different. That’s what happened with Falling. I don’t want to be a jerk, but I like it. So, there it is.

METALLIAN: Doom metal is synonymous with emotional music which comes from the heart. Yet, the song Perfect Insanity features processed vocals.
JOHN: We wanted to do something weird. We’ve had that song for a while, but could never get a good vocal line for it. We kept trying different things and finally Robert just screamed the vocals out and we did it differently.

METALLIAN: The lyrics to that song are uncharacteristic for an epic band in that they feature angry cursing. Epic doom metal is usually majestic and classy.
JOHN: We wanted to break the boundaries. We are not ones to constrict ourselves. We will do what we want. Due to the shit we went through in the last two years that song and the album are rather angry. That song, by the way, is exactly about insanity.

METALLIAN: The song Eternal has an intro sampled from Dreams Of Immortality off the band’s first album, Into The Depths Of Sorrow.
JOHN: Here we come back to traditional doom fare. It’s the continuation of that story. We sampled Dreams ran it through an AM radio sounding effect and established a thread.

METALLIAN: Although now fully engaged again with Solitude Aeternus John played in the opposite of a doom metal band, the industrial Puncture.
JOHN: I came into the picture when Puncture needed to do some live shows in the last two years. I had a little extra free time. It was fun to hang out.

The quintet of singer Robert Lowe, guitarists John Perez and Edgar Rivera, bassist Lyle Steadham and drummer John Covington are on the road with Mercyful Fate in the United States where you can sample the band and their new album live. Do not miss them this time out.

This interview initially appeared in Pit Magazine No. 13.

If you enjoyed this, read Benediction

Solitude Aeturnus