The only time I ever heard Godspeed was when they teamed up with Bruce Dickinson on the Black Sabbath tribute compilation Nativity in Black; their cover of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” was one of the stand-outs on the comp for me. Now, this was back in 1994 and, if I remember correctly, that was a pretty depressing time, especially with the hard rock/nu-metal machine picking up steam, so if I dismissed Godspeed I probably had a good reason. Anyway, this doesn’t really have much to do with anything other than the fact that Godspeed broke up and morphed into Solace. After a few years of EPs and demos, Solace made a big statement at the turn of the millennium with their debut full-length, Further, which, despite its mid-90s nu-metal leanings, offered enough fuzz n’ roll to put ‘em in favour with the likes of beards like me. The New Jersey band then stumbled through some hard luck years in which they released 13, their weakest effort for me despite a guest appearance from Wino (I thought there was just too much of the ol’ mid-90s hard rock/nu-metal sound on it, much more so than on Further), but then resurfaced and rebounded nicely in 2007 with the four-song EP, The Black Black. Of course, when Solace released The Black Black they were already writing and recording this album, so clearly it was a sign of things to come, and now finally, three years later, A.D. is here and it’s easily their best album yet.
Solace has finally shed any and all evidence of the 90s from their music (the bad parts, anyway) and have packed A.D. with the kind of jet engine riffs and world moving grooves that should squash any doubts about them being a bona fide stoner rock band, if there ever were any. I gotta believe it took a long time to get this one out because Solace recorded it on to tape deep inside a crater on Saturn and then transmitted the heavy cosmic biker metal back to Earth via busted satellites floating out in some giant scrapheap in space. If you need reference points, start with Monster Magnet and sHEAVY, but don’t forget about A.D.’s terra politic, as songs like “Six Year Trainwreck” and “Down South Dog” do a great job of selling Hermano’s dirty desert wares, while the album’s odd ball track, “The Skull of the Head of a Man,” is a three minute blast of some kind of Lower East Side aggro-death. And the whole thing is held together with – and I kid you not – a Warrior Soul-like ultra-violent urgency. Pretty boss, right? Hell, even Solace knows where this one ranks, as the album’s first track, “The Disillusioned Prophet,” kicks things off with the line, “I think I got the mean back.” Well said.
Listen to “Za Gamman” from A.D.!
Pre-order A.D. from Small Stone!
Posted by Jeff on Apr 2 2010 in Reviews Tags: 13, A.D., aggro, biker metal, Black Sabbath, Bruce Dickinson, cosmic, death, desert, Down South Dog, Further, fuzz n' roll, Godspeed, groove, heavy, Hermano, Monster Magnet, Nativity in Black, New Jersey, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, sHEAVY, Six Year Trainwreck, Small Stone, Solace, stoner rock, The Black Black, The Disillusioned Prophet, The Skull of the Head of a Man, Warrior Soul, Wino, Za Gamman