Released: 2005, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Winter Solstice is a 5 piece hardcore influenced thrash metal outfit located in Lynchburg VA that started their journey as a band during 2000. Last year saw the release of their debut album THE PULSE IS OVERRATED and since then have the band done a lot of touring.
THE FALL OF ROME is a theme album that handles the Roman Empire from rise to greatness, to its slow decline. The band also wants to make us aware of the similarities between the Roman Empire and our own society today including the moral depravity, the loss of historical perspective and the prideful arrogance of both ancient and modern societies. Duke, the drummer makes this comment about the theme “The slow decline of something that once was great and beautiful and epic seemed like a great idea for a metal album with a conscience, which is what we set out to write”.
The band plays a crossover between well played hardcore/thrash metal and it’s fast/hard/brutal and aggressive with only a few slower parts in sight. The bio says that this album is different compared to the bands earlier release in the way that “They have fine-tuned themselves as musicians and now have a much more mature and focused sound. This is due in part to the bands relentless playing and practice schedule”.
The 10 tracks on the album sound very well structured and arranged and it seems like the guys have worked hard on the material. One song falls out of the frame though, and it’s the instrumental track “The Fall of Rome” which contains only two acoustic guitars.
THE FALL OF ROME was recorded in Red Planet Studios in Richmond VA between October and November 04. It’s produced by Andreas Magnusson together with the band and the singer label mate’s As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis that also guest appears on “To the Nines”.
Even if the production isn’t something extraordinary it’s quite strong anyway. The biggest part of the mix belongs to the lead singer and the guitar players JT and Caleb. They have a really sharp guitar sounds and it reminds a bit of Pantera, then you might have an idea of what Winter Solstice sounds like.
This album is quite good straight through; it’s well played hardcore/thrash metal the whole album ahead.
The cover doesn’t look too appealing but I imagine that it reflects the theme of the album.
“THE FALL OF ROME is driving and fast, and they keep beating you down with very few breaks in the action. With that being said there is a lot of melodic catchiness in there that should stick in listeners heads for quite some time” and to that I fully agree.
I recommend this totally OK album to any fan of hardcore/thrash metal. Killer tracks are “Following Caligula”, “Calibrate the Virus”, “Courtesy Bow”, “Malice in Wonderland” and “55/23”.