Released: 1999, Doomed Planet Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Solitude Aeturnus fans who know the band's history will recognize this one. Justice For All was the title of their very first demo back in 1988! Back in 1993 this demo, together with Trouble's "Run to the Light" demo, was bootlegged onto CD by an underground European label called…ah, maybe I better not mention their name. Anyhow, that bootleg CD rocked! And I was delighted to see Doomed Planet Records officially release the demo! The first and only time it has ever been officially released, and you will only find it on 12" vinyl!
Now beware…Robert Lowe is not present on the demo. In fact, every member in the band in 1988 ended up departing for one reason or another! The only remaining original member is guitarist John Perez! Check out this lineup: Kristoff Gabehart (vocals), John Perez (guitar), Tom Martinez (guitar), Chris Hardin (bass), and Brad Kane (drums). First let's discuss Kristoff. He's a far cry from Robert! In fact he's rather hilarious because he can't sing that well! His sound and style just doesn't work with the music. But after a while, you get used to it. The music is just too damn good! Speaking of the music, it resembles the first two Solitude Aeturnus albums. In fact three of the five songs ended up being re-recorded for those very albums. They are "Transcending Sentinels", "Where Angels Dare to Tread", and "It Came Upon One Night". But the real treats are the other two songs, "Sojourner" and "Into Battle", which are exclusive to the demo!! Awesome! These two songs make it easier to judge Kristoff because we've just never heard Robert sing them. In addition to the five tracks, there is a bonus sixth: "Opaque Divinity", taken from their 1989 "Mirror of Sorrow" demo. This track features Robert on vocals!
The rather awful cover artwork differs from the bootleg I have, so I have no idea which one is original. On the reverse side of the jacket are some interesting old-ass black-and-white band photos, plus concert flyers. Pretty damn cool! The album also contains two paper inserts. One contains the lyrics to all six songs plus information on the beginnings of the band courtesy of Mr. Perez and Count Lyle. The other insert explains the photos on the back of the jacket, plus various other notes.
Get this if you love Solitude Aeturnus! This is a limited edition of 1000, so get yours now! (Sorry I didn't review this earlier this year…) Contact John Perez's very own Brain Ticket Records to get one: http://www.brainticket.com.
Although I don't see it in their catalog, they should have it. Also, if you want to see Kristoff in action, get the "Days of Doom" video…which takes you on a doomed journey from 1988 to the recording sessions for "Through the Darkest Hour"! This video is required for any die hard Solitude Aeturnus fan. And while you're at it, be sure to pick up some of their out-of-print albums too!