When you kick off an album with a song as powerful as "Falling", you know to expect some special stuff the rest of the way. That's totally the case here with Solitude Aeturnus' third release Through the Darkest Hour, a crushing, dark doom metal record, remastered here by Metal Mind Productions. Potent stuff from start to finish, the opening track's riffs are some of the best of the era (1994), one tortured vocal line after another from Robert Lowe, while his bandmates lock into a seriously heavy groove for a truly memorable number. The darker and slower "Haunting the Obscure" follows, Solitude Aeturnus' trip into Sabbath territory, menacing riffs from John Perez & Edgar Rivera setting the tone while Lowe's high pitched wailings soar into the netherworlds. It's a similar tone heard on "The 8th Day: Mourning", a slow, mystical number with some great vocals and textured guitar work, not to mention plenty of atmosphere. The band rampages into full-blown doom stomp on "The 9th Day: Awakening", plodding drum work courtesy of Wolf accompanied by monstrous riffs while Lowe delivers the killer chorus "Stormbringer, hear me, Down for days, The rain will end, Stormbringer, hear me, down for days, free again." Some tasty Middle Eastern guitar motifs complement this menacing piece.
More Sabbath styled doom can be heard on "Pain", a real powerful number, Lowe really digging deep for some emotional screams, while "Pawns of Anger" features some absolutely brilliant riffs that fall right into Candlemass territory, heavy yet very melodic. "Eternal (Dreams, Pt. 2)" sees things slow down again, this one a dark and evil dirge with some nasty guitar chords that really set the mood, which leads into the Saint Vitus inspired "Perfect Insanity", Lowe's vocals drenched in effects while the band blasts away behind him. The album ends with the atmospheric "Shattered My Spirit", a real good vehicle for the singer, who gets to show his passionate side. This track builds and builds, proving to be a great finale to this special recording.
Hard to say where Through The Darkest Hour ranks in the discography of Solitude Aeturnus, as they certainly have some real solid releases under their belt, but it's no doubt up there in the top three or so. This is just powerful, classy doom metal, no matter what way you look at it. Toss in some killer live bonus tracks ("The 9th Day: Awakening" is especially good) and a sparkling remaster treatment, and you have a must purchase for fans of the band and classic metal in general.
2. Haunting the Obscure
3. The 8th Day: Mourning
4. The 9th Day: Awakening
6. Pawns of Anger
7. Eternal (Dreams, Pt. 2)
8. Perfect Insanity
9. Shattered My Spirit
10. The 9th Day: Awakeing (bonus live track)
11. Pawns of Anger (bonus live track)