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Released: n/a, Independent
The enigmatic Spaniard Jevo is the mastermind behind several projects, including power metal veterans Valhalla (sadly silent since 2005) and the Spanish-sung El Reno Renardo. However, it’s his third project, Soulitude that arguably gets the most attention in heavy metal circles. He’s put out three albums under this banner since 2006 and each one has attracted more attention than the last. WONDERFOOL WORLD is my first introduction to Soulitude, and having read some glowing reviews on the previous album, DESTROY ALL HUMANS, I couldn’t wait to hear what the album offered.
Opening with a typical keyboard intro, the album quickly dives into the heavy traditional power metal attack of “Price of War”. Jevo’s vocals are not exactly what you would call “soaring”, as he sings with a more direct, gritty voice which fits the grinding nature of his music. Over the course of the album, it becomes clear that Jevo is unafraid of trying different approaches to power metal. While all the songs feature clear vocals and memorable choruses, there are some deviations from the path. “The Man Behind the Wall” and “Back to Life” both feature growled vocals, with the former almost being more of a melodic death metal song at times. Oddly, two of the more memorable songs are the instrumentals, “Coming Home” and “Gernika 1937”. The first is a keyboard-driven atmospheric piece that features some excellent riffs, while the second is a ten-minute guitar workout, again featuring some excellent riffs and solos. The closing cover of David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” doesn’t really work very well, but it’s easily skipped.
All told, Soulitude is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stale power metal genre. Jevo’s freewheeling take on it works much more often that it doesn’t resulting in WONDERFOOL WORLD being one of the most enjoyable listens so far this year. Besides, it (and all of Soulitude’s releases) is FREE on the band’s website so you have no excuse not to check this excellent album out.
1) Into the Void
2) Price of War
3) The Man Behind the Wall
4) Back to Life
5) In Solitude
6) Lost in the Ice
7) The Savior
8) Coming Home
9) Retarded Nation
10) Gernika 1937
11) Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie cover)
Ignacio “Jevo” Garamendi: All vocals, instruments, and programming
Previous review: » Soulitude - DESTROY ALL HUMANS