Sole Remedy
Apoptosis

There’s very little justice in the world of music. Even in Finland—a country of mere five million inhabitants that’s often regarded as a heavy metal mecca—bands destined for great things fall into obscurity after releasing one or two excellent albums. Take for example Sancnity, who could have contributed immensely to the progressive metal revolution in the early ’90s well before Opeth got a proper foothold.

What does this have to do with Finns Sole Remedy? At the moment, probably nothing. The band’s second outing, Apoptosis, is just hot off the press and by the sound of it, it’s definitely going to pummel me into submission so that it’s going to my Album of the Year list.

Sole Remedy steps firmly into the progressive metal genre without much effort, but at the same time, it’s hard to pigeonhole the band in just one genre. Much akin to Disillusion (and their fabulous Back to the Times of Splendor), Sole Remedy combines a wide variety of inspirations into a quantum that’s diverse and progressive – yet still coherent.

It’s clear that Apoptosis is made to last as the music drives through your brain and hooks you in an instant. Masterfully crafted and pieced together, full of musical and emotional layers, the album only gets better on successive listens as the spider web starts to unravel all of its finer details. The album sways from one spectrum to another, never feeling disconnected or disoriented. The musicians excel at what they do, but instead of that being the Alpha and the Omega, the emphasis is on excellent songs – the flawless execution is merely an icing on the cake.

From the atmospheric build-ups of instrumental “Ordeal” to the laid back, spacey pop-rocking of “The Undertow”, Sole Remedy also races towards more emotionally loaded growling in “Wolf in Me”. The band remembers add enough contrast to it all by slowing things down when necessary, and thanks to small tweaks and details—in just the right places—it’s easy to become captivated by the music.

Whilst Sole Remedy might seem slightly more upbeat at first, fans of Katatonia (“The Burden”, “Ordeal”) and the aforementioned Opeth (title track “Apoptosis”) should take note. I’d also go as far as mention Farmakon, Amorphis and Fall of the Leafe as other pointers closer to home, even if direct comparisons might not be relevant. The strut reminded me also of another Finnish band killed in action, Helion. In the end, namedropping becomes futile when Soul Remedy definitely packs a unique identity.

It would be easy to botch things up with a vocalist or a production not up for the task, but luckily both things are covered. The production is crisp, clear but not lifeless and the golden throat of frontman Jukka Salovaara moves unhindered between nice growls, shouts and touching cleans — even if the cleans do have a bit of room of improvement. The special mention of the day goes towards drummer Henry Silmonen, who effortlessly creates a rich and playful backbone to the music without suffocating it with his presence.  The same thing could be said about the album itself. It’s flashy, but for all the right reasons: Apoptosis seems to be crafted with surgical precision—nothing’s out of place—yet it still feels natural and uncomplicated.

The songs are independent entities, but together they form a musical journey that plays a lot like a concept album—in a good way. Songs affect songs further down the road, creating a narrative that gives as much as you’re willing to absorb. For example, at the end of the track “Solace” the music quiets down to put the faster first half into context. It also entwines itself with the closing track “Past Decay”. Together, the two put the rest of the album into perspective. Ultimately, this is an album you do not want to devour in small proportions.

With the first paragraph in mind, it would be easy to falter into globally-reknowned Finnish pessimism and paint all sorts of apocalyptic writings on the wall. But I won’t because Apoptosis—holy shit—what an album! Highly recommended… but I’m sure you kind of got the point already.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
September 20th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: stiffy

    Sounds like I need to hear this.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    noooo I need to hear it first


  3. Commented by: stiffy

    Damn it Jordan.


  4. Commented by: Haavard / Aftermath Music

    you can listen to the whole album now at http://www.myspace.com/aftermathmusicnorway :)


  5. Commented by: Sole Remedy: The band » Listen the entire Apoptosis on Myspace!

    […] Teeth Of The Divine […]


  6. Commented by: Reinus

    Thank you for pointing out this album! Hasn’t left my cd player since buying it.


  7. Commented by: Apollyon

    You’re welcome. This album truly deserves all the attention it can get. And then some. Weeks after it’s still standing high in the Top of 2010 -list.


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