Billed as a kind of prog / goth metal hybrid, Finnish band Sole Remedy return with their second album entitled Apoptosis. Although the group has been around since the late 90's it took them ten years to issue their debut disc The Wounded Kings. Building upon that effort the quartet, which has now added a fifth member to handle keyboards and additional vocals, apparently has had the material for Apoptosis in the can since the summer of 2009.
From a music standpoint it sounds like the band hasn't really decided which route they want to go down. Now if it was their intention from the start to put together an album that dabbles in a few different things, then that's fine even if it can be somewhat confusing to the listener. However, my feeling is that they still seem to be finding their way, which isn't a bad thing. For example on the first couple of tracks the band establishes a nice melancholic / melodic vibe to set the tone, but before the listener can even become fully accustomed to it, they shift gears rather quickly and head into heavier territory. To be fair the change isn't as dramatic as it seems because really the only radical shift has to do with the lead vocals of Jukka Salovaara which morphs from the clean, and soaring approach into almost death metal like growls. The third track "Leave" continues to build upon this method of utilizing heavy guitars and harsh vocals only now the drums have a bit of an electronic element to them which adds another dimension, albeit a slight one, to the music. "The Burden" and "Ordeal" demonstrate a clear knack for writing songs that are both heavy and melodic, while "Undertow" and the acoustic flavored title track are certainly the most commercial sounding tracks on the record. The album closes with three tracks that are all over seven minutes in length, so again the listener is thrown a bit of a curve ball. "Wolf In Me" starts out heavy, breaks down towards the middle and settles for something in between, which is pretty much the same formula employed on the last two tracks as well.
Apoptosis is by no means a total waste of time as there are some fine performances to be found here. That being said, I found this disc to be a bit of a head scratcher because while they seem to be trying different things, almost as if they're mining for a sound in the hope that it comes up gold, at the same time they don't really deviate from utilizing the same formula on almost every song. Unfortunately all this does is make Apoptosis sound a bit too forced in the end. Not a bad album, just uneven.
2) Present Remorse
4) The Burden
6) The Undertow
8) Wolf In Me
10) Past Decay