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 Post subject: Solace - A.D.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:18 am 
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Solace - A.D.
Small Stone Records
Release date: April 2010


There's a moment when anticipation is bested by apathy, and A.D., the long-gestating third full-length by New Jersey's Solace, crossed from one to the other sometime last year. I can't speak for anyone else, but the news that it was finally being released wasn't so much greeted with "Hot damn, it's about time!" as it was "God damn, it's about time."

Not surprisingly, the blame lays almost entirely with the band (although a modicum falls on Small Stone Records' doorstep, who operated under the mistaken assumption that this opus would be released shortly after signing the group in late 2007 and therefore promoted it in a perpetual cycle of "coming soon"). They are, after all, perennial underdogs in an endless fight against themselves.

Since the group is its own worst enemy - I could easily spend a paragraph or two detailing how adept they are at sabotaging their best interests - that makes the success of A.D. all the more welcome. Sure, it may have taken them seven years and more than the usual share of turnover (bassist Rob Hultz was replaced by Black NASA's Duane Hutter, who was in turn replaced by Hultz; drummer Kenny Lund left the band sometime in 2008, which led to original drummer Keith Ackerman's return), but A.D. sounds like the work of a band that knows exactly what it wants and will stop at nothing to reach that goal.

Not as immediately accessible as the "Fuck you, we're not dead" salvo that was The Black Black, A.D. is almost recklessly dense, a labyrinth display of everything Solace has to offer (by comparison, The Black Black's three originals perfectly exemplified the best of what the band brought to the table). Even when comparing the final mastered version of opener "The Disillusioned Prophet" against its rough mix from last year, there's so much going on within that track's seven minutes and three seconds, it's practically a new song. We're talking layers upon layers of guitar, countered by an equally absurd amount of vocals.

But here's the catch - despite the obvious studio-centric slant and their penchant for adding more to more, A.D. never topples under the weight of the band's grand aspirations. The songs, whether the Hessian metal aggression of "Disillusioned Prophet" and "The Immortal, the Dead and the Nothing," the more traditional doom of "Za Gamman" and "The Eyes of the Vulture," or the breakneck hardcore of "Skull of the Head of a Man" (a lesser companion to "Cement Stitches," but still a vicious throat puncher), are decidedly and distinctly Solace. They've always been credited as being as guitarists' band, and while there are plenty of riffs and solos (and hey, even more solos) to back up that assertion, that's not giving enough credit to singer Jason, who manages to justify the entirety of his extended time in the studio with the vocal line that kicks in around two minutes and 45 seconds into "Down South Dog." Moments like that - and there are plenty of them throughout the album - are what elevates Solace above the fray. There's an unmistakable talent for composition displayed on A.D., one that more often than not transcends the genre and serves as a benchmark of quality songwriting. Every song isn't exceptional (for example, the main riff to "Borrowed Immunity" is a bit too clunky), but every song has a praise worth moment (the ending to "Borrowed Immunity" makes up for its shortcomings).

It may have taken too damn long for A.D. to see the light of day, but there's no denying it delivers everything you'd expect from a Solace album and then some. It is the sum of everything we've heard from them multiplied by the promise of what they can be. Highly recommended.

- John Pegoraro

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 Post subject: Re: Solace - A.D.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:13 am 
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One of my albums of the year

http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album/solace-ad.php

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 Post subject: Re: Solace - A.D.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:57 am
Posts: 289
Location: NJ/Philly
Thanks JJ for putting Solace in the top spot of 2010!!!

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2010/12/30/2010top20num1/

Truly appreciated!!!

So glad that after years of struggle some folks really enjoyed the album!

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 Post subject: Re: Solace - A.D.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:25 am
Posts: 143
Location: Ghent, Belgium
'Enjoy' is really not strong enough man

This ol' LP of yours is baffling in all of it's grandeur and heaviness with all it's ambition and gritty sense of realism it's the perfect LP for my life now.

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 Post subject: Re: Solace - A.D.
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:41 am 
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http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/a-d

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 Post subject: Re: Solace - A.D.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:57 am
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Location: NJ/Philly
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 Post subject: Re: Solace - A.D.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:59 pm
Posts: 318
Oh no..... what does 'swan song' mean? That A.D. was the last we'll hear of Solace? Or is it something much less ominous than that? God I hope so... I'd love for SOLACE to keep up, keep at it, your band is one of my favorites Tommy and has been for many years.


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