Here we go with part II of an album, which was released last year. The claim is that this makes it “more interesting”, but I’m not really sure about that one. Part I was, I recall, a good, varied and melodically inclined album other than the last track, which was uncharacteristically sinister and nothing like the rest. So I can’t say that Part I gave me any sort of platform for what to expect.
After a somewhat superfluous intro, Solution .45 revert as I see it to type and start hammering out some fast and aggressive Swedish melodeath. “The Faint Pulse of Light”. We’ve heard it all before but it’s got life. I appreciated the suave instrumental passage which followed the break, before the song returns to hammering melodeath. “Mind Mutation” is more contrasting. It has the hardness of Hypocrisy but clean harmonies – so Scar Symmetry. But it’s a strong song with good shape and flamboyant guitar work. A feature I picked out when listening to “Built on Sand” was that there is more freedom in the play than I remember from previous works by Solution .45. This one is a nice punchy melodic song. There’s fluttering aggression. The guitar play is sophisticated. A djenty rumble adds depth. “Inescapable Dream” is another melodeath/thrash romp.
And then it changes … “The Curse that Keeps on Giving” starts the second half in a more serious tone with a quiet and gloomy number. The emotional level is built up, but this reminded me of that moment in concerts where you wish the band would go back to what they’re good at. “Chain Connection”, a Swedish track title if I’ve ever heard one, descends into dark territory and has the purest death metal so far. I was starting to see the second half of this album as a series of disconnected odds and sods, and to an extent “What Turns the Wheels” is the same. But here Solution .45 get the tone just right in my view. It starts with symphonic darkness, before a contrasting clean voice comes in. It then takes off and blends the atmosphere into an impressively expansive world. Melodeath is back on the agenda for “Misery Mantra” but it’s in the framework of a song which doesn’t really support it. Even the growly section sounds a bit wimpish. There’s a colourful guitar solo. It’s not a bad song but I didn’t know where I was going with it in the end, and it lacked the interest of “What Turns the Wheels”, fading out indiscriminately. It was nice to hear a bit of djent to finish on “Heavy Lies the Crown”. The song itself was quite pleasant and heavy without breaking down walls. It wasn’t inaccessible but it wasn’t particularly significant or interesting.
For me, sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t. I suppose I should give credit to Solution .45 for not sticking to one style and looking to mix things up a bit with a combination of atmospheres. Although the second half of “Nightmares in the Waking State – Part II” had some good moments, I preferred the first half of it even though it was generic in style. Death metal melody is what Solution .45 is good at. In my view they need to work on the rest.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)