Solitary – Nothing Changes: 20th anniversary edition (album)

Release date: 20th August 2018 || Genre: Thrash || Label: DOC Records

It’s always interesting to look back at the back catalogue of long running bands and compare their early releases to their current ones. Having reviewed Solitary‘s superb 2017 album – The Diseased Heart Of Society – for Valkyrian Music last June, I might have got a bit carried away diving in.

1998 was a bit of a strange time for metal. The more serious styles we’ve come to know and love were just starting to emerge. Bands like Nile, Dying Fetus, Opeth and Crowbar started to make an impact. New elements were in full flow in the form of nu-metal, and a stronger influence of electronic music on the genre. Meanwhile, thrash was somewhat in the midst of a mild identity crisis. Sepultura was giving way to Soulfly. Metallica and Megadeth were in the midst of churning out, arguably, the worst of their catalogues. Slayer took some weird (soft?) angles. Anthrax, while solid, certainly diversified. Testament, however, didn’t seem to give a flying monkey, and continued to smash it out of the park with some fantastically heavy thrash.

It’s hardly a shock, then, that the latter’s influence is clearly discernible on Nothing Changes; the debut full-length from a band who covered Into The Pit on sophomore release, Requiem, and later released a live record titled I promise To Thrash Forever. However, it’s not The Gathering or Demonic leaving their mark here. It shares more in common with predecessors Low and The Ritual. I’m not saying Solitary weren’t affected by their aural surroundings when creating this album. You can pick up on the Pantera stomp and the pseudo-disco beat of Prong in places, but this is undoubtedly a thrash album. As fully intense or straight up thrash as TDHOS or Requiem? Maybe not. Strangely enough, they have developed their sound over the last two decades! However, looking back to the scene into which it was birthed, it displays a determination to stick to the root of the sound.

This remastered re-issue, comes with new artwork, as well as a collection of demos, which seem to be from 1996 tape EP The Human Condition. While not produced to the same level, these songs are another great insight into the roots of the band. It could be nostalgia over the original format, but they sort of feel kind of ‘thrashier’ themselves. At any rate, a great addition to a project aiming to peer back to the beginning.

Full of hooks and choruses, Nothing Changes is well worth its re-visiting. It is an album of its time, but the 1990s were – for those of us who stayed in the deep end of the extreme music pool – and rich goldmine of great metal. It still stands head and shoulders above many other thrash releases, both back then and now. Solitary should be proud, not only of where their story taken them, but also of the undeniable character of the first chapter, written so many years ago.

Grade: A

Slow Dragon

 

Check out the original version Nothing Changes below


 

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