Sound — 8
After leaving Scar Symmetry, vocalist Christian lvestam has immersed himself in numerous projects. However, none has been more promising to Scar Symmetry fans than Solution .45. Featuring a few of Christian's band mates in Miseration and The Few Against Many, as well as Sonata Arctica's former keyboardist and one of Hateform's guitarists, Solution .45 has kicked things off with their very first release: For Aeons Past. From start to finish, For Aeons Past spews out hard-hitting tracks characterized by sorrowful atmospheres and bone-crushing growls. No matter how heavy, though, they still possesses the beautiful vocal melodies we're used to hearing from lvestam. Jani Stefanovic and Tom Gardiner are both impressive guitarists that contribute progressively influenced riffs and blazing guitar solos in every song. Rolf Pilve is a fantastic drummer, and, surprisingly, I was actually able to hear Anders Edlund's bass lines. Mikko Hrkin's synth work adds a nice touch to the songs, often strengthening the atmospheric feel. However, the album isn't devoid of problems; a few things have garnered my complaints. While the guitar solos effectively display the skill of Solution .45's two guitarists, half of them seem like they were written only to be fast. There's nothing particularly special about them. I don't think I would ever rewind any of the songs simply to listen to a solo over again. Secondly, the songwriting could have been better; many riffs seem stale and similar to others.
Lyrics — 10
With their power, beauty, and impressive range, Christian lvestam's vocals are better than ever. I've never listened to any vocalist besides lvestam that's made me want to scream-along as well as sing-along. Throughout the entire album, we are exposed to soulful, catchy, and melancholic melodies coupled with lyrics written by Dark Tranquility's vocalist Mikael Stanne. In fact, he wrote the lyrics for every song (with the exception of Lethean Tears, whose lyrics were written by lvestam). Stanne even provides some guest vocals on the album. While we're used to hearing Christian sing sci-fi-themed lyrics from Henrik Ohlsson, Mikael Stanne's lyrics are much more medieval/fantasy-themed. Stanne's lyrics are thought provoking, intriguing, and even reached me on a personal level with Gravitation Lensing: "Never again will I direct my shields against another, but turn it on myself." All in all, no problems here.
Overall Impression — 9
Upon first listening to For Aeons Past, I was slightly disappointed. However, after a good number of listens, it has definitely grown on me. The album is filled with a bunch of great songs, including the powerfully melodic Gravitation Lensing and the hauntingly catchy Wirethrone. The 16-minute epic Clandestinity Now showcases everything we everything we hear from Solution .45 on For Aeons Past: melodic choruses, brutal growls, and the band's softer side that we see on Lethean Tears, the album's ballad. It is also jam-packed with guitar solos. Furthermore, every minute of the song holds your attention. It may be 16 minutes long, but it doesn't drag on. I had hoped not to end my review by comparing Solution .45 and Scar Symmetry, but it's worth noting that even though Jani Stefanovic claims the band isn't a Scar Symmetry clone, Solution .45 proves to be very similar to it. In my opinion, Scar Symmetry's pre-Dark Matter Dimensions albums are still better than For Aeons Past. However, we must remember that this is Solution .45's first album. They certainly have the potential to surpass Scar Symmetry. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing their future work.