SOLUTION .45
"For Aeons Past"

(AFM)

01. The Close Beyond
02. Gravitational Lensing
03. Through Night-Kingdomed Gates
04. For Aeons Past
05. Lethean Tears
06. Bladed Vaults
07. Wirethrone
08. On Embered Fields Adust
09. Into Shadow
10. Clandestinity Now

RATING: 5.5/10

You know that voice; you damn well better if you've spent any amount of time at all in Swedish melodic death metal neighborhoods. And I'm talking about the kind of melo-death that is both modern and polished to stratospheric levels of gloss. You realize I'm referring to any project in which vocalist Christian Älvestam has participated; he of the slicker than slick sonority of SCAR SYMMETRY. That's the big segue, as SOLUTION .45's "For Aeons Past" is just as melody-centered, but not nearly as memorable, as SCAR SYMMETRY and SOILWORK; less progressive as the former, more progressive than the latter.

We could stop right there and you'd have a pretty good idea of what to expect from "For Aeons Past", which happens to do the style (defined broadly) medium-sized justice at best and doing no favors to anyone seeking to steer clear of subgenre assembly-line interchangeability. Oh sure, some the songs buck the formula from time to time with inventive shades of beefiness ("Blade Vaults", "Wirethrone") and modern forgettable balladry ("Lethean Tears"), succeeding on the one hand and failing on the other. But the fact remains that much of it is the same down-tuned power bounce, interrupted only by (in this case) wise use of electronics/keyboards (e.g. "Gravitational Lensing"), that you've heard so many times before. That's not all bad; it's not all good either.

A more important point to be made once and for all is that "clean, "angelic," or "soaring" in a vocal context does not automatically equate to "catchy." It is the melody, not the style that makes a chorus catchy (tell that to about 475 growl 'n croon metalcore bands). And considering that melody is a central component of Swedish MELODIC death metal, it is problematic when one has difficulty remembering specific choruses. At least guest player Mikael Stanne (DARK TRANQUILLITY) is on board to offer assistance in the lyrical department (a job he always does so well) in addition to the lending of his voice as appropriate.

The point is that "For Aeons Past" does feature some sparkling melodies, but ones that aren't all that memorable and with a focus that is a little too mechanically inclined toward a method known as "open up aggressive structure and insert crooning chorus". A bigger issue is that over an hour's worth of this material is way too long. I'm not speaking to the members of the peanut gallery who can't get enough of this kind of thing; more so those on the fence that only jump down when those aforementioned methods produce memorable results. I'm not saying that "For Aeons Past" doesn't boast some endearing attributes and acceptable material. I'm just saying that I'm not seeing very much movement on that fence.

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