SummaryNeither action nor drama
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Morgion were one of those doom/death metal bands that didn’t change as drastically as other bands did and while this seems ideal on paper, nothing could be further from the truth. Whereas Among Majestic Ruin remains a decent, if flawed slab of semi-epic doom/death metal, I’m afraid that Solinari marks a serious misstep from the band.
By no means are we talking about a huge departure from Among Majestic Ruin itself, as the muscular growls and massive guitar tone remain present, yet with less emphasis on riffs and more emphasis on keys, spoken word sections and acoustic fragments, I have a serious hard time sitting through this thing. Songs range quite a bit in length, yet the longest two – one clocking at 10 and the other one at 11 minutes couldn’t sound further from anything epic and even the shorter ones often feel longer than they are (let’s be real here: usually this isn’t a good sign). “The Serpentine Scrolls / Descent to Arawn” still brings to mind the Morgion of a few years prior, yet you end up with a piss-poor opener that doesn’t promise much at all. Lots of spoken word passages appear and it’s not until the three minute mark until the heavy guitars appear… yet an actual outstanding riff seems to be out of sight. Gone are the ravaging death metal sections, as are the crushing Celtic Frost-inspired riffs – basically the only interesting remaining features are the keys that bring to mind the same apocryphal atmosphere of the superior Among Majestic Ruin and let’s face it: if your keys standout more than your riffs, you’re usually doing something terrible wrong.
It’s a shame, because the decent moments in between become ruined by a lot of excessive nonsense, regardless of each track’s length. “Canticle” quietly plods onward until the two minute mark (do you start to see a pattern forming?), before a bouncing riff appears, quickly vanishes and from thereon, neither action nor drama gets conjured again. Just like the record’s opener, the 11 minute long “Nightfall Infernal” doesn’t manage to justify its length at all, where a wall of noise riff that can’t get unnoticed rules, but the acoustic sections that follow short after don’t. Few moments of recapturing the magic appear, yet the whole thing ends up like a disjoined test of patience to sit through. Morgion do shake things up a little once Solinari progresses, yet this results into wasted potential that doesn’t cut it either. “All the Glory…” loudly introduces itself and gets as close to the Among Majestic Ruin territory as it could. Again, the keys manage to sound wonderfully between those guitars that mount onward halfway through, but with so many spoken word sections scattered around, the track remains too passive for its own good. “…All the Loss” brings to mind some of the otherworldly gothic realm of Fields of the Nephilim, which I definitely appreciate, but instead of building up towards a decent climax, you end up with a final heavier ending that relies on a piss-poor riff with no value whatsoever.
Doom/death metal bands that would gradually unfold their greatness on a slower pace are quite rare to begin with (think of Anathema circa Pentecost III for a good example of this style), but Morgion just didn’t have it in them to pull this off with conviction. Basically a tamer, uninteresting and overlong version of Among Majestic Ruin, the band has proven that sticking to doom/death metal wasn’t always a good choice to begin with. Give the debut a try if you haven’t already and forget that Solinari exists in the first place.
Release date: February 23rd, 1999
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