Solarus – Reunion (Self-Released)Sunday, 15th January 2017
With a symphonic power metal mission to bridge the gap between music lovers of multiple genres, London, ON Canada is home to Solarus, a three-piece outfit together since 2015 and recently releasing their debut full-length Reunion. The landscape for this niche of metal appears expansive as more musicians sink their teeth into the creative mold – for as many groups that align to the Nightwish-oriented operatic/pop style you have others going down heavier Epica terrain. Solarus embrace an outlook that takes progressive, extreme, and modern influences into account, resulting in a nine-song effort that engages on multiple levels and diversifying the overall product to alleviate sonic boredom or overload.
Guitarist/bassist Lucas McArthur serves up jaw-dropping progressive gallops and acoustic layers for one of the early highlights “Shattered Skies”, intertwining the finesse of Symphony X along with the hook nature of Circus Maximus. The alluring orchestration and vicious electric overtones make “My Eternity” a number that draws comparisons to Epica meets Evergrey, male guest vocals trading off with Sarah Dee’s confident mid-range to higher elevation delivery. Clocking in at a young 21, her voice probably shifts more on the pop/ alternative rock than operatic side of the fence, yet proves just as exhilarating and aurally intoxicating – offering robust contrast to the heavier, modern passages of “Prayer of the Fallen”. Rare is the band that can lean on the see-saw between say Threat Signal as well as Evergrey and make it work in a symphonic context, but Solarus indeed achieve their fresh perspectives, probably due to the focus on solid hooks and melodies on both the vocal and musical fronts.
Using the talents of Borealis’ drummer Sean Dowell for orchestration throughout the album and guitarist/vocalist Matt Marinelli as a male baritone counterpart on the closing title track as well as “Shattered Skies”, it’s easy to see that Solarus possess all the requisite talent and execution to become a future force on the metal landscape. A total package affair in terms of proper production, songwriting, tones, and cover art, Reunion is a fine first effort for the band and one to keep an eye on if you love symphonic power metal with modern and progressive textures.