Solution .45 – Nightmares in the Waking State Part II (AFM Records)

Thursday, 18th August 2016
Rating: 9.5/10

After the release of Nightmares Part I late last year, the fact that the band stayed on par with their direction and added some heaviness seemed to bode well for the inevitable Part II. As these things do occur, anticipation builds. Being that Part I and II were both recorded at the same time (the band sought it better to release it as two digestible chunks rather than a double release), it was just a matter of waiting it out for Part II to arrive.

The tough part about hearing the second half of an album 8 months later is having that same perspective when you hear it (or at least the same feelings that were present the first time around). With an idea of knowing what to expect, some of the mystique is lost. But those pre-conceived notions are quickly evaporated once Part II settles in. Opting to start things out with a heavier feel, “The Faint Pulse of Light” relies more on pummeling grooves and eerie guitar melodies in the chorus than being a vocal-driven vehicle. “Chain Collector” offers some atmospheric and lurching darkness that separates it from the other tracks. Of course, there’s plenty of classic Solution .45, with some rich melodies courtesy of both the lead guitar and Christian Älvestam, with “The Curse That Keeps on Giving” and dreamy “What Turns the Wheels” providing plenty of proof that the band hasn’t lost their edge. But the biggest treat will be the ultra-catchy “Inescapable Dream,” complete with soaring chorus and an overall upbeat atmosphere that long-time fans should revel in.

Overall, Part II comes off as somewhat more melodic than the overtly heavy Part I but finding a strong sense of balance that holds to the high standards that were to be expected after Part I’s quality. Solution .45 still come off as one of melodic metal’s most formidable alliances, with Nightmares in the Waking State (Part I and II) an excellent dual release…even if they were released months apart.

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