Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Solothus: Ritual of the Horned Skull (Demo 2011)


Solothus contacted me with a review copy of their first demo, Ritual of the Horned Skull. (Note: It appears to be available free on Bandcamp now.) The Finnish band play death/doom the way it's meant to be played. Take note: This is a band to watch.

The first thing you'll hear when you play this album is a fantastic bassline with an excellent, crackling tone. I honestly don't know why bass gets the shaft so often in metal, but that's definitely not happening here. Ominous guitar lines enter, and the band shifts to a bangable death metal riff before an excellent death growl enters the fray.

The other two tracks move a little slower and veer a bit more toward the doom end of things. They're all simple, but each has a memorable riff or two, and enough dynamics (like the gradual tempo increas of "Embrace the Cold" or the textural differences within each song) to keep things from getting stale. All three songs hover around five minutes, which for a doom band is a shockingly economical mark. Also, check out the rocking solo on closer "Darkness Gathers Here at Night". In short, this demo will not bore you for even a second.

Even if this were a proper "official" recording instead of a demo, the production would be worthy of praise. The drums sound like real drums, the bass is fully audible, and the sound levels are consistent throughout. It's loud enough, but nothing gets clipped. All in all, it's got a raw, live energy that's refreshing.

The Verdict: The only bad thing you can say about this demo is that, at 15:35, it leaves you wanting more. But that's exactly what a demo should do. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm looking forward to a full-length.


  1. I like this quite well. Hopefully we'll hear more from these guys in the future.

  2. Love this. Just can't get enough of well done old school death/doom.