Having been familiar with Christian Alvestam’s work in Unmoored and Scar Symmetry, (The first three featured Alvestam and are in my opinion, the band’s best – so much so that they needed two guys to replace him) I was definitely looking forward to hearing this one after reviewing the band’s debut, For Aeons Past a couple of years back. Nightmares…Part I actually marks the band’s second release since coming together in 2010 and seems to see Alvestam doing the kind of melodic death metal that he loved so much in his prior acts. It really feels like he’s come home to roost with this act, and I hope it’ll continue far into the future.
It’s quite surprising as to how much the work here resembles Scar Symmetry, and one can denote that in the clean technical melodies and groove riffs, not to mention the mouth-dropping solo efforts, orchestration and keyboard pieces. The only difference is that Alvestam doesn’t feel as pressured to belt out a clean chorus every time as you’ll hear right away from the harshness of album opener “Wanderer From The Fold” (5:18) which actually reminds me more of his stuff in Unmoored, just with a bit more depth and structure. The choral piece here is almost set in the form of a Dissection scowl, which wasn’t something I’d have ever expected, and I doubt that any of the fans of his previous work in Scar Symmetry would have expected as well. In many ways, Solution .45 feels more like an evolution of his work in Scar Symmetry as he can do more with it. If the hard-hitting riffs don’t grab your attention, the catchy clean melodies certainly will. Alvestam even goes all out with a clean vocal ballad on “In Moments Of Despair” (6:24) which soon begins to erupt with thundering riffs and haughty orchestration. Here is where he proves that he can still sing with just as much passion as he has ever been able to, and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the album apart from it’s nearly twelve-minute closer “Nemesis” (11:32). The disc spans a full hour in length and offers ten tracks spread out during that amount of time, which makes it easy to digest and perfect for repeated lessons. There is definitely more of a groove-metal feel to the guitar work here and perhaps current Scar Symmetry may excel a bit more in muscularity, but you surely can’t blame these Swedes for trying. Solution .45 are definitely not a mere fluke, and they almost sound to me as if Alvestam felt he could achieve the same style and sound of Scar Symmetry with a new set of musicians.
I definitely enjoyed Nightmares… Part I a great deal more than their debut, For Aeons Past as it shows the band evolving (there’s that word again) towards something far greater, less raw and overly more driven. Nightmares…Part I achieves exactly what a sophomore album should do, as it shows the band becoming something more than yet another project. Alvestam has been in more bands than he owns socks and just as with socks, some of them deteriorated and went nowhere, while others proved to be durable and steadfast. As far as I can tell, the pair of socks called Solution .45 haven’t yet worn out and I’m pretty sure that we’re going to hear a lot more from these guys in the future, as they continue to build upon what has already been made here.
Being a huge fan of his work, Nightmares…Part I is exactly what I wanted to hear and my face was like a kid on Christmas morning when I opened a package to find the album sent to my door. I said to myself, “Well, I was going to review the record this week anyway, because it would be foolish of me not to.” It only took me one time to know that this is a disc that I wanted to review and promote, because it deserves it! I even told the publicist that the record was awesome. I know that we reviewers aren’t supposed to say things like that, but I like to be real with you readers and can promise you that if you called me up today on my personal cell and asked me what I thought of Nightmares…Part I, I’d tell you that it’s one of the best discs I’ve heard from a Christian Alvestam project in several years.
I’m absolutely enthralled with this release and it’s one of my favorite records of the year, by far. In fact, I’ll put it close to the top of my list, definitely making it one of the best melodic death metal fusion excursions that I’ve come across in a while. So should you give it a listen? Well, that goes without saying. The Grim Tower highly recommends Solution .45’s Nightmares In The Waking State Part I and I truly hope that you’ll pick it up. It’s worth your money, so don’t let it pass you by.
(10 Tracks, 59:00)