In Solitude, the Swedish band that started out as an Iron Maiden/Mercyful Fate style metal band, has consistently grown over their three albums, and the follow-up to the great "The World The Flesh The Devil" is a great leap forward in helping them establish their own identity.
The band, a bunch of young bucks in their early 20's is an ambitious one, trimming away most of their influences and bringing an album that still rocks plenty, with scorching lead work and plenty of fast tempos, but also lays down a heavy dose of dark atmospheric sound, with the vocals of Pelle Ahman more passioned than ever.
Ahman apparently spent time in the north woods of Swedish to get inspired for the new album, and if his dark and Satanical references are any indicator, those woods are not a place I want to go. In Solitude can be compared to Ghost B.C. but are not as kitschy or obvious as their compatriots. Where a keyboard laden Ghost B.C. are as much camp as they are anything, In Solitude seem to take their game deadly seriously. The title track is haunting and disturbing, and the closer "Inmost Nigredo" is a moody classic, far removed from their earlier stuff.
Those who still want some of the early IS sound will not be disappointed, and those hoping the band doesn't stay on the derivative road will be greatly pleased at their progress. It's one of metal's best of the year, hands down.