Scales Of Justice: Guest reviewer Sean Cairns
2017 has indeed been a highly successful year for Solar Sons, having played Bloodstock Festival, and now with the release of their new record, Retrograde Motion, they have stepped up another gear.
Blistering opener, “Defence Mechanism” opens with a galloping thrash riff that concedes into a fairly standard traditional heavy metal template until the three and a half minute stage, where we enter into some serious breakdown territory and this highlights the whole records main strength; its ability to expose light and shade and other dynamics that aren’t always immediately apparent on a heavier record.
The album continues on in this fashion until “Clouds, which reduces the pace considerably with what sounds like a homage to the solitary rock ballad that every thrash band of the 80s was probably contractually obliged to include on every release. “Colossus” brings us back to the heavier sound that Solar Sons, to be honest, seem more comfortable playing and highlights the excellent and inventive guitar work (which at times had me questioning if it was a guitar or a synth, such was the creativity of the playing and production work). The vocals positively soar on the chorus of “Carousel” (my personal favourite from the record), and as with most other songs its quite hard to believe such a big sound could be re-created live with just three members.
There is a definitive uniqueness to not only guitarist Danny’s song writing but also in the choices of tones and effects he uses, which for me really separates his playing from a lot of the less original metal bands in Scotland and further afield. Solid, inventive drumming throughout and dexterous, yet never overpowering bass playing are happy to provide the backdrop to the centrepiece of highly ingenious guitar riffery and Rory’s evocative vocals. A great prog-metal record that beats its own path and opens new avenues on every listen.
FFO – Pain of Salvation, Sacred Reich, Threshold.
Sean Cairns is the brains behind experimental Folktronica act The Cairngorms Youngteam as well as a writer and collector of strange and interesting sounds.