Solution45I recognised the band name and remembered that I had heard this band’s first album “For Aeons Past”. I couldn’t remember anything else about it, which wasn’t a very promising start, but I did remember that Solution. 45 are from Sweden, play in a melodic groove metal style and their band members seem to have played in lots of similar bands. In particular there are connections with Stratovarius and the singer was in Scar Symmetry.

I guess that Solution .45 is some kind of reference to a gun, or possibly to a drink or a baseball team. For some reason for me it calls to mind WD40. Hard-hitting as this band’s metal music is, there is a well lubricated and smooth feel about it all. It’s also got plenty of firepower, so maybe the gun analogy is appropriate too. The energetic drumming, melodic rhythm and harsh vocals of “Wanderer of the Fold” point to something very Swedish, but to their credit the song has plenty of variation including vocal distortions and is full of of interest and imagination. The album follows a certain formula but the main ingredients of a Swedish melo-metal album, while there, are recycled. I loved the djenty “Where Losing Is All”. Apart from the normal punch of the djent, there’s intrigue and suspense in the production and a superb clean vocal line. Less exceptional was “Bleed Heavens Dry” but then “Perfecting the Void” was epic and catchy to the point of getting me to hum along. What I’m saying really is that each song has identity and character. Unfortunately the character of the ballad-like “In Moments of Despair” didn’t appeal to me so much but even there I did appreciate the fact that the band pulled out the stops on the production.

The tempo picks up nicely with “Second to None” which is straight out of the set list of Sonic Syndicate with Mr Älvestam’s pure vocals giving us a blast of Scar Symmetry. A tantalising guitar solo follows. All in all, it’s template Swedish melodic metal but it’s lively and enjoyable, and that’s what counts. The juxtaposition of clean and harsh vocals is then handled to perfection on “Targeting Blaze” but this cannot work without the inch-perfect timing and vibrant instrumentals which provide the sheer energy and life which pour out of the song from every direction. It’s djenty, catchy and irresistible. So too “Alter (the Unbearable Weight of Nothing)” oozes non-stop energy and should come with a warning about the dangers of uncontrollable headbanging. This is fun. Shame it stopped but “Wield the Scepter” carries on where it left off. It’s impossible to stay still while listening to this. Solution .45 build up a huge canvas of melody and energy. “I, Nemesis” then starts in an unfamiliarly dark and sinister fashion. The growls are an accompaniment to an expansively shadowy background. It sits incongruously with the melodic energy of the previous songs and possibly I would have appreciated it more if it had fitted in more with other songs of a similar nature and on a different album. This said, it’s a weighty, expansive and symphonic track, which provides contrasting gravitas to this otherwise melodic romp and is more in keeping with the album title than any other track. “I, Nemesis” came across however as something along the lines of a bonus track, a concept which I don’t particularly like on albums.

“Nightmares in the Waking State” is a well produced album and there were no surprises until the last track, which provided a big one. Because of that I’m not sure about the balance of the album as a whole but for the most part I appreciated it greatly as a fine work of Swedish melodic metal.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)