SOLSTORM – live at Hulen –
Before Solstorm went on stage there was a 25-minute set by the talented Hamre Solo who embarked on a short but atmospheric ride through experimental noise drone landscapes conjured up by saxophones, distorted and dark sounds, loops, and strange musical sequences with a cinematic quality to them. I was impressed by the fact that one man was able to pull off something like that in a live setting. Some passages were loud and nasty while others were soothing and hypnotic. In some ways, it brought to mind certain aspects of the "Angel Heart" and "Sin City" movie soundtracks, but maybe that is just me. Anyway, Hamre Solo was a most fitting beginning to a great evening.
The entire atmosphere revolving around and emanating from Solstorm`s pitch-black song material is bleak, claustrophobic, and even downright oppressive at times. Weaving doom metal, sludge, stoner rock, drone, dark ambient, distorted saxophones, unsettling samples, and an overriding sense of despair together in such a convincing and disciplined manner requires skill and talent, something that these fuckers have in spades. Sure, there are nods to outfits such as Neurosis, Isis, Sunn O))), Boris, and the likes, but Solstorm have undoubtedly carved out a style and sound of their own. Their dense and blackened compositions were brilliantly executed in the warm and moody setting of Hulen and left very little to be desired. In fact, they sounded even better in a live setting compared to their studio counterparts. This was probably due to the fact that they felt even more overpowering and overwhelming when experienced in an environment where there were no restrictions and the band could simply let go and turn into a dark musical force with a reckless energy to it. It was structured and tight but in no way rigid or lifeless. Solstorm were simply awesome and it all rather fittingly ended in a cacophony of noise, destruction, and total darkness, which suited me just fine.