“Hour Of Despair” by Solitude Aeturnus

Artist: Solitude Aeturnus
Title: “Hour Of Despair”
Label: Metal Mind Productions
Release Date: 3/10/2009
Genre: Doom Metal
Rating: 4/5

If you ask my opinion on this release I would say that it was about time that it was put out and should have truthfully been packaged with the DVD that bears the same name. Now that I have gotten that out of my system may I present for your audio receptors the amazing live concert recording of Doom Metal masters Solitude Aeturnus “Hour Of Despair”. I’m not sure why the audio version and the video version were not released at the same time even if the company chose to present them to the Metal legions in separate editions and all that matters is that it is finally here. I say it like this because the video concert was so damned good and finds the band on top of their game presenting a great number of tunes from across the span of their career. The riffs are crunching and the vocal melodies haunting while the drumming trudges like a slow moving train into the fog filled night. It’s all about mood with this band of Texans and while they had formed in 1987, they clearly hold the sword high for the genre that Black Sabbath kicked into gear decades before. Fronted by the enigmatic Rob Lowe, the band is a must seek out group for any fans of Trouble, Pentagram and Candlemass based on their deep subject matter and overpowering sound. The show was recorded in Poland, the home base of Metal Mind Productions, and presents to the listener the twelve tracks that made up the main segment on the DVD that bears the same name. Essentially this is a live Greatest Hits piece based on how it touches upon a number of the Solitude Aeturnus releases and gives you what the band feels is their very best. I have to say that they sound better than ever when you consider how this recording came to be some twenty years after the band first began.

The recording is crisp and clean with some crowd noise but nothing that would ruin it for the listener’s experience. All of the levels seem on point and the playing and singing are to be commended. If you don’t have the DVD for this one yet, be sure to look into purchasing a copy as it is loaded with additional clips and footage from this fine band. At the time of this writing, singer Rob Lowe became the front man for the legendary Doom Metal band Candlemass. He replaced Messiah, who seems to have left for the final time and having already heard just how well Lowe fits it, I say goodbye dude it is your loss and our gain. Lowe has stated that he will continue to work with Solitude Aeturnus as well which is a very good thing. Packaged in a thin digipak, the release offers the same brooding artwork that the DVD has and a very minimal booklet but that is a minor concern since what matters most is the kick ass live concert you get to load onto your music player of choice or computer or just be old fashioned and blast it out of your stereo at maximum volume.

Track Listing:
1. Scent Of Death
2. Haunting The Obscure
3. Mental Pictures
4. Destiny Falls To Ruin
5. Sightless
6. The 9th Days Awakening
7. Phantoms
8. Is There
9. Pawns Of Anger
10. Waiting For The Light
11. Days Of Prayer
12. Falling

Official Website: http://www.solitudeaeturnus.com

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