Gloom – Solaris (eOne)

Wednesday, 31st May 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

It seems that the best path that one can take when it comes to direction is not to simply choose one. It may be hard at first to put the pieces together, and some bands continue to struggle with this, but in the long run, if a band can manage pulling a variety of sounds, they are all the stronger for it. Case in point is Washington DC’s Gloom, whose first full-length (following a self-titled EP back in 2014) merges plenty of familiar and dissectible influences, but turn it into something fresh…and more importantly, their own.

As noted, you can go through the tracks and pick apart the band’s influences and genre-sounds. Moving between death, black, and doom only starts to scratch the surface, but it’s safe to say that if you put value in extreme metal, you’ll find a part of Gloom to enjoy. Some of the fun of the album is actually to listen to each track and hear just how they put all the varied sources they are drawing from into a coherent and impressive display. Whether it’s some southern doomy swagger mixed with black atmosphere and crushing death metal riffage that leads into more progressive goodness (“Cede”), the modern grooves and death metal base of “Naught,” or the haunting blackened build-up of “1% Empty,” these tracks will keep your interest by strength of sheer diversity alone. Plus it’s a cohesive experience – no jarring transitions or obvious switch-ups to fall into. Vocalist Bill Calomiris is as much a chameleon as the rest of the band, utilizing a number of extreme vocals to convey some different emotions (including some absolutely wicked high screams). Lastly, the band is able to pull off an effective extreme metal rendition of Alice in Chains’ “Them Bones,” a feat that a few metal bands have attempted but ultimately lost the essence of in translation. Gloom simply nails it.

A lot to like about Gloom’s Solaris. Refreshingly diverse, yet it still holds enough familiarity that you aren’t lost trying to pick up the pieces. The fact that it’s their first full-length only serves as a reminder to how impressive they are (and can be in the future).

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