SOLSTICE - Angleland
Release date May 1, 2020 (Bandcamp)
Regular readers will likely know how highly I recommend Solstice when it comes to uber-quality epic doom metal. If you're on the lookout for chest pounding doom that'll get you headbanging and singing along, then this U.K. unit is more than worthy of your attention.
That said, the band have recently announced that they have switched vocalists, Hagthorne (Chalice) now taking over the mic from Paul Thomas Kearns. Before moving on with new material with the revised band, Solstice have now issued Angleland, a 'clean out the closet' type of release closing the previous chapter. It contains eleven songs (over close to eighty minutes in length), seven of which are alternate versions (live, rehearsal, instrumental) of tracks from their last three releases. Tacked on as well is a live version of "Cimmerian Codex", however, the highlight is a previously unreleased song entitled "Glue". An unusual track for the band both in terms of length (only 72 seconds) and song structure, here the band drops all doom pretenses and simply rocks out in fine hardcore punk/metal crossover mode constantly shouting "Gotta stick together ... like glue!". An interesting change of pace to be sure.
So, would I recommend this compilation release to our readers? If you're a die hard Solstice fan, sure, this'll be a tasty treat to hold you over until they issue new material. However, if you're not part of the fan club, I'd steer you instead to their 2018 full length White Horse Hill or to the two EPs that preceded it (To Sol A Thane and Death's Crown Is Victory), some of the very best epic doom metal of the last decade.