Finland’s Solarhall have released their debut album “Lokus” and it’s a case of a new band still looking for a firm identity. There are certainly some influences which is fine but the bigger issue is that stylistically, Solarhall are a bit all over the place. The opening track “Fenix” is more atmospheric dark prog but things change after that.
There’s a fair amount of blues rock on this album which is fine if you are into that. It’s not something that I’ve ever really liked. “Broken Man,” “Great Deceiver” and “The Wolf and the City” all fall into a bluesy, alt-rock category. “Shelter” sounds a little like Godsticks but it’s QUITE as good as they are. The longest track is “Sewer Man” which is a psych rock piece that has some very cool organ work. Things get more mellow half way into the song. Some fine guitar work as well. That is my favorite track because it shows the band stretching out more.
Vocally, Otto Juutilainen has a good voice that in some ways reminds me of Jon Crosby of VAST. He isn’t going to win any singing competitions but his voice always suits the song. The production and mix are very good as well. All in all, it’s a solid effort just not something that I personally would seek out and listen to. Having said that, there’s enough spark on “Lokus” that many people will enjoy it and I think it bodes well for the future of the band.
4.The Wolf and the City
7.Engulfed in Green
8.All Gods Live in Dark Houses
Good call on the Godsticks reference, totally agree with you there. Yeah the album tends to jump around as far as genre identity goes. It’s like Godsticks met Godsmack met 90’s Metallica and they all got together to jam then they couldn’t find their way back to their original bands so this is what they came up with. Some great moments of dark Prog concepts but it gets thrown off by the bluesy-hard rock and becomes more of a pastiche of songs rather than anything conceptual. Granted Prog albums don’t need to be all about one theme or one purpose/concept BUT a general stay on the beaten path of what you are is always a good rule of thumb when doing a record. Some good songs but they need to be more focussed on their direction for future releases.
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Very good assessment, my friend. They have talent. It just was a little too unfocused as you noted as well.
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