I’ve always admired bands with singers who can sing in a tongue foreign to their own. To me it seems like there is a lot more at stake because of all the meanings that can become lost in translation, all the things one may feel that they may not necessarily be able to put into the exact words in another language. And though some styles of music are firmly anchored in a place, Rasta to Jamaica, the blues to the Deep South, the melting pot of genres that make up rock n’ roll, and the many offshoots of rock n’ roll, though born in America, seem to belong to everyone who has ever picked up a guitar regardless of where they live or what language they sing in. The Finnish four-piece Solarhall whose debut record Lokus is a foreign study on the darker side of rock, sing in English and their sound seems at times derived from bands like Black Sabbath through to Alice in Chains.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Otto Juutilainen, lead guitarist Joonas Suomalainen , bassist Teemu Vilmunen, and drummer Teemu Elo began making Lokus back in 2014. Originally the band wanted to record things rather quickly. They laid down the drums and rhythm guitars in a matter of a few weeks, but then found themselves wanting to take their time and get things done right.
This patience pays off on the opening track “Fenix” a mellow and slow building rock ballad, which in a sense slowly over a period of five minutes rises to a magnificent close much like the proverbial phoenix implied in the songs lyrics. Next on “Broken Man” the band turns it up to straight rock, pulling out sharp bass loops and razor sharp guitar riffs eventually coming to a close with a powerful onslaught of blues- fueled classic rock. Solarhall picks up the pace even more with the hard bouncing chorus of “Great Deciever.”
Solarhall delves into a slightly more ‘90s hard rock on “The Wolf and the City” and even more so on the six-minute long “Shelter” which goes from an Alice in Chains inspired rock and then hits on death-metal momentarily before turning into a strangely poetic acoustic ballad. These changes I know are somewhat true to the genre, however Solarhall’s transitions are rough and awkward in comparison to the bands they are trying to emulate. Solarhall use this same formula on the eleven-minute long “Sewer Man,” though to a much greater effect and the song, as long as it is, turns out to be their best display of the kind of rock they can bring. The near instrumental, head splitting closer, “All Gods Live in Dark Houses,” sees Solarhall taking a nod from their Scandinavian brethren and inching into the Norwegian black metal genre.
Over the years the heavy metal genre was never able to coax me into its van, but growing up Catholic I always respected other people’s religions even though I didn’t understand them. As debuts are concerned Lokus has its ups and downs, but the downs are mainly rookie mistakes and likely due to Solarhall taking a little too long of a time to make the record. No matter what genre an artist is working in, oftentimes spontaneity trumps longevity.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook