How many albums can you legitimately say are worth a seven-year wait? Two or three years, sure. Maybe even four. But seven? You might as well be starting your career over at that point, and come to think of it, that’s kind of what New Jersey doom ‘n’ rollers Solace did with their Small Stone Records debut, A.D. Sure, there had been various DVDs, a split with Greatdayforup and the The Black Black EP in that time, but true to its name, A.D. marks the beginning of a different era. I can’t think of a better way to close out this decade than with one of its most awaited records.
Whether it’s the straightforward riffly progression of a song like “The Eyes of the Vulture,” the thrown-bone stoner groove of “Six-Year Trainwreck” or the head-spinning madness six-stringers Tommy Southard and Justin Daniels get up to on opener “The Disillusioned Prophet,” every movement of A.D. was majestic almost in spite of itself, and no matter which direction they turned, Solace did what almost nobody remembers to do: They fucking rocked.
Even as vocalist Jason cleverly layered his vocals into A.D.‘s most outwardly simple and straightforward cut, the hardcore-fueled “The Skull of the Head of a Man,” now-departed drummer Kenny Lund righteously propelling the song with his double-kick, there was an ultra-confident attitude behind Solace‘s songwriting. For an album that was recorded in multiple-sessions over the course of several years — bassist Rob Hultz was still living in Chicago, last I heard — A.D. managed not just to sound cohesive, but natural and flowing. It was as close as 2010 got to perfection. If you’re feeling brave, the full review is here.
The thing that’s stayed with me most about the album is how well Solace embodied the notion that just because it’s doom doesn’t mean it has to be dumb. A.D. is rich and complex — and not just in the oft-harmonized guitars — and technical never at the expense of the songwriting, but to track the different parts of a song like closer “From Below” (my favorite single song of the year,” for what it’s worth; I’m still trying to wrap my head around Jason‘s vocal arrangement toward the ending) is more work than 365 days can allow, and like the absolute best of releases, Solace‘s A.D. is a landmark by which I’ll remember the year it was released.
Tags: New Jersey, Small Stone, Solace