SOLOTHUS – Realm Of Ash And Blood

SOLOTHUS – Realm Of Ash And Blood

Funeral doom is admittedly an aquired taste. Much of the genre is so slow and uneventful (as funerals tend to be), seldom justifying huge track lengths considering the shockingly small riff count, and yes, I get that the goal is to put me in a trance, but they only succeed in putting me to sleep. But there are exceptions and the Finnish act Solothus is a notable one, injecting much death, moving melody and varying pace so as to make it a memorable experience despite the usual genre trappings.

Solothus has been at its craft since 2007, its members from Turku, Varsinais-Suomi/Helsinki, Uusimaa in Finland. After "Ritual Of The Horned Skull" demo, and independently releasing the debut album, "Summoned From The Void" (2013) Solthus secured a deal with Doomentia Records for the follow up, "No King Reings Eternal" (2016) before switching to 20 Buck Spin for this here, the third album, "Realm Of Ash And Blood" (ROAAB), a 7 track affair of skilful and deep doom/death, recorded as Kari Kankaanpää (vocals), Veli-Matti Karjalainen (guitars), Sami Iivonen (guitars), Tami Luukkonen (bass) and Juha Karjalainen (drums).

Although the opening "Father Of Sickness" suggests "ROAAB" is rooted in Peaceville (Anathema, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost) with a slow, horrifying Esoteric base, already the Hypocrisy-ic "The Watcher" picks up the pace injecting much death metal, whereas the huge sprawling "The Gallows’ Promise", one of the album’s standouts, adds Swallow The Sun and Mournful Congregation stylings and melodiscism to the bulging and throbbing fabric, before the instrumental "Last Breath" breaks the momentum, and Slothus waxes decidedly Type O’Negative for two tracks. The most magnifiscent of the 7, the huge "A Rain of Ash" ends the proceedings, tying it all together on an additional Daylight Dies-ian note.

The flaws lay mainly in those Type ‘O Negative style tracks (Below Black Waters, Chasm of Shattered Bones), as they seem to detract from the drive introduced by the predecessors, but also the material, overall, seems a bit chaotic and I found myself drifting away from the music at hand a few times.

If I should appreciate funeral doom beyond Mournful Congregation, Esoteric and Swallow The Sun then Solothus is a band for the job, with huge sound and enough variety and melodic craft to engage even such Attention Deficit Disorder-ly folk as myself, so if any of this rings your bell, check it out.