Rating:
8.5
In Solitude - Sister
27 September 2013


01. He Comes
02. Death Knows Where
03. Palid Hands
04. A Buried Sun
05. Lavender
06. Sister
07. Horse In The Ground
08. Inmost Nigredo


Sister has something different to say about the heavy metal heritage it draws inspiration from. In their own unique way In Solitude involve themselves in the retro occult craze that seems to have taken over heavy metal lately, joining fellow Swedish bands Portrait, Enforcer and the most successful Ghost B.C., while not being as overtly "in your face" about it. Unlike Ghost B.C. these guys go about digging into the dark themes through music and music alone. Well, aside from the lyrics that is. They aren't as concerned with constructing an image around their music as much as making Sister the finely crafted exhibition of original heavy metal that it is.

This is an album which sits comfortably in a recognisably traditional sound but, at the same time, avoids direct comparisons as it blazes trails of its own. As In Solitude's third studio album, Sister moves past days of worship and no longer calls back so strongly to a time when Mercyful Fate cast their own shadow over the heavy metal scene. Although the themes remain dark, the sound is less of a throwback to the more sinister themes and styles of heavy metal in its heyday, such as those of American pioneers Savatage or those that emerged from the NWOBHM in bands like Cloven Hoof.

There is a healthy respect, most ably shown in the production, for the kind of sound employed by lesser known bands that thrived across Europe in the 1980's; the spirited influence of band's as varied as the French Sortilège or Sweden's own Axewitch form a frame of reference for Sister. In other words In Solitude pull all kinds of nostalgic strings which link their sound strongly to traditional heavy metal.

In terms of their own style the band has made leaps and bounds in the effort to produce something they can call their own and they leave their own mark with this album. The Mercyful Fate influence combined with a hard rock inflection gives it something of a gothic-like character with its intricate riffs and melodies bearing a rather unique charm. It's often gloomy despite a nimble delivery and it even encroaches on doom territory in tracks like "A Buried Sun" and "Inmost Nigredo" with the deep hum of Black Sabbath-esque bass and lurching leads. These songs demonstrate the album's varied pacing as they are placed between the more numerous up-tempo numbers.

Even in its slowest moments Sister exhibits a youthful energy in the band's skilful musicianship and such is met in equal measure with a maturity and diversity of song writing. Far from being simplistic in structure, each of the more concise tracks promises to add another varied layer to the album.
Vocalist Pelle Åhman makes his King Diamond-like presence felt from the outset as his voice haunts beneath the acoustic of the opener "He Comes," which is perhaps the most distinctive of tracks as it differs from the interweaving of guitars, leaving behind the acoustic, which make up the tunes to follow. Both guitars and vocals are given a treatment of reverb, such as in the mid-section of "Pallid Hands" for the latter and the mid-section of "Lavender" for the former.

The performance of all members is suitably dressed in an authentic yet impeccably modern production, the throb of the drumming is particularly well expressed, giving Sister her rhythmic pulse. At times the bass is found too deep, especially when the dual guitars are on show, such as in the title track which offers only momentary windows for the bass to shine through. The overall sound hides its modernity well, the production giving it a particularly genuine nature which might easily be mistaken for something decades old.

Originality is difficult to achieve in modern heavy metal, not only in terms of a band identifying with the traditional sources of influence, but also distancing themselves from these influences as well as other recent outfits attempting to do the same. In Solitude ably demonstrate their ability to do this and heavy metal fans are guaranteed to find something familiar yet unheard in Sister.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: In Solitude
Album: Sister


 



Written on 04.11.2013 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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Marcel Hubregtse - 04.11.2013 at 15:02  
Strange you don't mention the clear post-punk influences on this album and make it sound like this is almost a pure traditional heavy metal album when in fact it is quite far removed from that. Sister is quite a radical change in style when you compare it to the two previous albums.

Like the band says in some interviews influences of bands such as Wire, Joy Division, Cortex, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Bauhaus, Killing Joke, early Christian Death, The Cure can be clearly heard on this album.

Also some disco influences can be found on the album and then most notably in the title track 'Sister' with it pumping bass which is extremely reminiscent of Kiss' 'I Was Made For Loving You'

I think that many people who read this review and listen to Sister expecting a tradtional heavy metal album (especially due to the references of bands you give) will be extremely disappointed in this album.

Rereading this review, I would say that this review would be more fitting for the previous two albums than for 'SIster'
Pazdzioch - 04.11.2013 at 16:41  
Surprised how much I love this album (perhaps due to these influences)...
Marcel Hubregtse - 04.11.2013 at 16:53  
Written by Pazdzioch on 04.11.2013 at 16:41

Surprised how much I love this album (perhaps due to these influences)...


The influences R´Vannith mentions aren´t quite there on this album any more, they however are present on In SOlitude´s first two albums. This album is mainly influenced by post/punk
Pazdzioch - 04.11.2013 at 17:04  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 04.11.2013 at 16:53

The influences R´Vannith mentions aren´t quite there on this album any more, they however are present on In SOlitude´s first two albums. This album is mainly influenced by post/punk

Yeah, I was thinking about the ones given by you
Marcel Hubregtse - 04.11.2013 at 17:12  
Written by Pazdzioch on 04.11.2013 at 17:04

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 04.11.2013 at 16:53

The influences R´Vannith mentions aren´t quite there on this album any more, they however are present on In SOlitude´s first two albums. This album is mainly influenced by post/punk

Yeah, I was thinking about the ones given by you


Aha, okay, sorry, I somehow misunderstood you
Monolithic - 04.11.2013 at 17:55  
My first impression of the first tracks was that I enjoyed the music. I hear some clear punk influences and the connection to Ghost and other bands you've mentioned exists but not as much as the punk music I'm hearing.

Still a great review since it got me interested into it. Well done.
Ritual_Suicide - 04.11.2013 at 19:46  
What Marcel said +2. This album is absolutely swimming in post-punk and gothic rock influences. Jarboe from Swans even does some guest vocals on Horses in the Ground.

You also can't really lump these guys into the trad metal revival anymore. They've started to move beyond that.
R'Vannith - 05.11.2013 at 14:19  
It's not all that surprising I didn't mention those bands, considering I don't listen to post-punk or early gothic rock really. I may be placing too much of an emphasis on the traditional aspect I suppose, but it definitely sounds like a heavy metal album to me. Certainly not enough post punk in it to make me question it as heavy metal.

True, their previous album had more of a traditional focus I think with a lot more NWOBHM in it, one before that was pretty much a bit of Mercyful Fate cloning. I think they keep the influences they've had along the way, just write more interesting songs and make use of these influences in a fresh way, like mixing it with those Marcel mentioned. Mercyful Fate still seems like the first point of comparison to me.

My purpose wasn't to mislead when I talk about the traditional influences, I did stress that they they do something new here. It's a mix of traditions really, I mean there's also a fair bit of classic hard rock in it, I've read elsewhere people making comparisons as diverse as BOC, Danzig, The Cult, etc. What that tells me is that this band are doing something different, something only they've done, which makes listeners draw connections to a varied range of traditions, whether they're heavy metal, hard rock, gothic rock or post-punk (heavy metal comes first I think).
Monolithic - 05.11.2013 at 15:09  
Written by R'Vannith on 05.11.2013 at 14:19

My purpose wasn't to mislead when I talk about the traditional influences, I did stress that they they do something new here. It's a mix of traditions really, I mean there's also a fair bit of classic hard rock in it, I've read elsewhere people making comparisons as diverse as BOC, Danzig, The Cult, etc. What that tells me is that this band are doing something different, something only they've done, which makes listeners draw connections to a varied range of traditions, whether they're heavy metal, hard rock, gothic rock or post-punk (heavy metal comes first I think).

Not misleading at all. It's just that people would use the review as a source of reference to discover new music and I understand there's so much stress on the influence section because it's always a strategy to name a few influences to draw someone's attention. But I would actually consider the review far from misleading since we're in a metal forum and I don't assume that a lot of people would be interested in post-punk as much as they would love to hear something similar to Ghost or Mercyful Fate.

UPDATE: Okay, maybe a litlle misleading.
Marcel Hubregtse - 05.11.2013 at 15:12  
I find this review extremely misleading. Since Sister is almost not metal any more and is nothing similar to Mercyful Fate or Ghost for that matter. Especially not Mercyful Fate. And also not in the vocals. Which although quite high pitched at times sound nothing like King Diamond's.
Sister draws way more influences from the post-punk/new wave genres than from traditional metal.
Pazdzioch - 05.11.2013 at 16:41  
Despite the post-punk influences (and others) this sounds like a trad heavy metal shit to my ears, though not in the vein of MF nor Ghost so I agree with that. Furthermore I honestly doubt that any fan of the 'old school sounds' will be disappointed after first reading this review and then listening, even if imagined it differently. Just so good it is...
Fritillaria - 05.11.2013 at 16:53  
R'Vannith don't get me wrong, I still like your pen, but I can't deny this review of you was misleading, I was expecting too much Mercyful Fate influence too but there isn't any.
SBGMetal - 05.11.2013 at 23:04  
Booohooo this album is not my cup of tea :/ i was one of those who read the review first and i was happy to hear that it was gonna sound like their last two albums, but turns out it didn't... im sure other people would like this album but its too much for my traditional taste
Fritillaria - 06.11.2013 at 08:11  
Written by Monolithic on 05.11.2013 at 15:09

Not misleading at all.

aha

Written by Monolithic on 05.11.2013 at 15:09

It's just that people would use the review as a source of reference to discover new music

not always, I read reviews to grasp the whole music genre, feelings and characteristic more, I mean I want to know other critic's opinions on music I hear, reviews are helpful for the musicians themselves too


Written by Monolithic on 05.11.2013 at 15:09

and I understand there's so much stress on the influence section because it's always a strategy to name a few influences to draw someone's attention.

not always, but imagine what if there wouldn't be a similar album, I mean that's a good way, but there isn't much stress necessarily

Written by Monolithic on 05.11.2013 at 15:09

But I would actually consider the review far from misleading since we're in a metal forum

the first part of sentence doesn't have anything to do with latter part,I mean the assumption has nothing to do with the conclusions, although I hated math but I know that wrong "assumptions" leads to wrong "conclusion". There isn't such Prerequisite that being in a metal forum doesn't make a review misleading.

Written by Monolithic on 05.11.2013 at 15:09

... and I don't assume that a lot of people would be interested in post-punk as much as they would love to hear something similar to Ghost or Mercyful Fate.


it's true I personally dig metal recently more, but right three months ago because I was learning to play my own instrument too, and also because I enjoy music wholly not because of genres, tags and etc, I was digging blues, classical, even some electronic music and so on... , because here is a metal forum there is no exact conclusion that everyone are interested only in metal.

Written by Monolithic on 05.11.2013 at 15:09

But I would actually consider the review far from misleading since we're...

UPDATE: Okay, maybe a litlle misleading.


ah, you're contradicting yourself a bit.
Monolithic - 06.11.2013 at 08:18  
Written by Fritillaria on 06.11.2013 at 08:11

the first part of sentence doesn't have anything to do with latter part,I mean the assumption has nothing to do with the conclusions, although I hated math but I know that wrong "assumptions" leads to wrong "conclusion". There isn't such Prerequisite that being in a metal forum doesn't make a review misleading.


You read what I wrote, right? The sentence continues like this as I'm explaining why I say that: " and I don't assume that a lot of people would be interested in post-punk as much as they would love to hear something similar to Ghost or Mercyful Fate." Making an assumption is far from making a clear and warrantable conclusion (you can take a look at the dictionary: "The act of taking for granted, or supposing a thing without proof; a supposition; an unwarrantable claim.")so, yeah. I made myself clear and that was never a clear conclusion at all.

as for that little update, I had to say it because I find it a little misleading to say it's 100% traditional heavy metal because it's not. Also I don't find that contradiction to be important because I don't consider myself as a complete human being unlike you.
R'Vannith - 06.11.2013 at 10:16  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 05.11.2013 at 15:12

I find this review extremely misleading. Since Sister is almost not metal any more and is nothing similar to Mercyful Fate or Ghost for that matter. Especially not Mercyful Fate. And also not in the vocals. Which although quite high pitched at times sound nothing like King Diamond's.
Sister draws way more influences from the post-punk/new wave genres than from traditional metal.


I'm not sure what you meant by "almost not metal." It's either metal or it isn't, to me this is metal so I'd be interested to see what genre it comes under for you (is it a post-punk album?). At no point in my review did I compare the sound of this album to Ghost, I simply referred to the fact that they have similar themes and buy into the whole "occult" scene thing. I would consider this album heavy metal, whereas with Ghost's latest, which sound's pretty different, I question whether it belongs to heavy metal as it's much lighter in sound than this.

I find it unusual that some of you can't hear any Mercyful Fate at all, I certainly can despite it being lesser on this album than the last. It's not as if they've thrown out their entire sound that they had on previous albums. So I think we shouldn't exaggerate the extent to which they've changed their sound, while it is different to what they've previously done, considering the influences you mention, you're describing it as if they've completely reinvented themselves. I don't think they have, despite the clear differnce to the last album. While this difference might be distracting I don't think they've moved beyond heavy metal. And from my perspective I think it's misleading to suggest that they have. I may have been misleading with tying it so strongly to "traditional" heavy metal, but not in terms of it being a fresh take on heavy metal, no matter where it's drawing inspiration from.
R'Vannith - 06.11.2013 at 10:20  
Written by Pazdzioch on 05.11.2013 at 16:41

Despite the post-punk influences (and others) this sounds like a trad heavy metal shit to my ears, though not in the vein of MF nor Ghost so I agree with that. Furthermore I honestly doubt that any fan of the 'old school sounds' will be disappointed after first reading this review and then listening, even if imagined it differently. Just so good it is...


Yes, I think anyone who likes a bit of old school heavy metal will find something to like in this. Others might not draw the comparisons I have, but most important thing for me is that it's something new and exciting for the genre. Such a thing is usually hard to come by.
R'Vannith - 06.11.2013 at 10:26  
Written by Fritillaria on 05.11.2013 at 16:53

R'Vannith don't get me wrong, I still like your pen, but I can't deny this review of you was misleading, I was expecting too much Mercyful Fate influence too but there isn't any.


Thank you, and apologies for misleading you there. Perhaps I emphasised too much the amount of Mercyful Fate influence there is, but I think it's still there.
R'Vannith - 06.11.2013 at 10:27  
Written by Monolithic on 06.11.2013 at 08:18


as for that little update, I had to say it because I find it a little misleading to say it's 100% traditional heavy metal because it's not.


I don't think it's 100% traditional either, or 100% heavy metal really. But I'd still be happy to call it heavy metal.
Monolithic - 06.11.2013 at 10:33  
Written by R'Vannith on 06.11.2013 at 10:27

I don't think it's 100% traditional either, or 100% heavy metal really. But I'd still be happy to call it heavy metal.

True, it still contains metal. Even if Marcel is gonna disagree with me.

Ah, what the heck. The music is good. I'll check out their previous albums, too. Can't deny the fact that you deserve credit for that.
Marcel Hubregtse - 06.11.2013 at 13:53  
Written by R'Vannith on 06.11.2013 at 10:16

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 05.11.2013 at 15:12

I find this review extremely misleading. Since Sister is almost not metal any more and is nothing similar to Mercyful Fate or Ghost for that matter. Especially not Mercyful Fate. And also not in the vocals. Which although quite high pitched at times sound nothing like King Diamond's.
Sister draws way more influences from the post-punk/new wave genres than from traditional metal.


I'm not sure what you meant by "almost not metal." It's either metal or it isn't,



It is still metal due to metal influences but the sound is mostly outside of metal due to the arger influences of non-metal stuff such post-punk/new wave. In Soltude have moved on from being a purely traditional heavy metal band to a borderline metal band which has almost nothing to do with the traditional metal of the bands you mentioned in your comparisons. Especially not Sortilège, Savatage, Axewitch, Cloven Hoof or Mercyful Fate musically. The only way people could only passingly think of Fate is in the high pitched vocals, but then again those are totally nothing like MF's. It seems that currently everyone somehow (don't ask me why) draws a comparison to Mercyful Fate when they hear high pitched vocals. Could as well compare it to vintage Judas Priest in that sense (oh wait. When Mercyful Fate released their self-titled e.p. and Melissa Rob Halford was exactly what King Diamond was compared to ) as with comparing KD's vocals to Rob Halford's, at the time, comparing Pelle's to King Diamond's is extremely lazy on the reviewer's part because those are all totally different.
I stand by my opinion that this album does not generally appeal to fans of traditional heavy metal (just like user SGBMetal doesn't like this as a fan of traditional heavy metal). I know loads of fans of traditional heavy metal, the ones that are for 90% iunto trad heavy metal, and they absolutely hate this new album by In Solitude whereas they love the previous two. The reason they hate the new one is that it has almost nothing to do with traditional heavy metal any more.

as for something being either metal or not, it's not that black and white. I for example will call Sister still metal whereas others will say it isn't metal any more. Same applies for stuff such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, hell even Black Sabbath to some.
For me Sister really is borderline metal because of the immense amount of parts on this album which aren't metal. But I think their next album will be totally non-metal though, seeing the way they are evolving.
Fritillaria - 06.11.2013 at 14:09  
Written by R'Vannith on 06.11.2013 at 10:26



Thank you, and apologies for misleading you there. Perhaps I emphasised too much the amount of Mercyful Fate influence there is, but I think it's still there.


ah don't apologize please, we're just discussing
Yojimbo - 06.11.2013 at 22:35  
Not a big fan of this album. Nothing really stands out to me. I feel like the previous album "The Devil. The Flesh, ect" was a lot better. Great live band, though. Saw them open for Watain a couple of weeks ago, they brought their A game.
R'Vannith - 07.11.2013 at 03:30  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 06.11.2013 at 13:53


It is still metal due to metal influences but the sound is mostly outside of metal due to the arger influences of non-metal stuff such post-punk/new wave. In Soltude have moved on from being a purely traditional heavy metal band to a borderline metal band which has almost nothing to do with the traditional metal of the bands you mentioned in your comparisons. Especially not Sortilège, Savatage, Axewitch, Cloven Hoof or Mercyful Fate musically. The only way people could only passingly think of Fate is in the high pitched vocals, but then again those are totally nothing like MF's. It seems that currently everyone somehow (don't ask me why) draws a comparison to Mercyful Fate when they hear high pitched vocals. Could as well compare it to vintage Judas Priest in that sense (oh wait. When Mercyful Fate released their self-titled e.p. and Melissa Rob Halford was exactly what King Diamond was compared to ) as with comparing KD's vocals to Rob Halford's, at the time, comparing Pelle's to King Diamond's is extremely lazy on the reviewer's part because those are all totally different.
I stand by my opinion that this album does not generally appeal to fans of traditional heavy metal (just like user SGBMetal doesn't like this as a fan of traditional heavy metal). I know loads of fans of traditional heavy metal, the ones that are for 90% iunto trad heavy metal, and they absolutely hate this new album by In Solitude whereas they love the previous two. The reason they hate the new one is that it has almost nothing to do with traditional heavy metal any more.

as for something being either metal or not, it's not that black and white. I for example will call Sister still metal whereas others will say it isn't metal any more. Same applies for stuff such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, hell even Black Sabbath to some.
For me Sister really is borderline metal because of the immense amount of parts on this album which aren't metal. But I think their next album will be totally non-metal though, seeing the way they are evolving.


That's true, it's not as simple as a black and white interpretation, there are shades of grey of course. Although when you say the influences are mostly outside of metal, wouldn't that mean that you consider the album as mostly outside of metal, so not metal?
In terms of the heavy metal in their sound they have to draw inspiration from somewhere, and as far as the metal aspect is concerned I think they continue to use the influences they always have but they seem much less obvious in this particular album because of the non-metal elements you're talking about. Of course when they mix these elements with their previous sound it's more difficult to distinguish.
I think they found something that they can "run with" on this album, if you know what I mean. They've found a sound that's particular to them, something to call their own, you know?

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