Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Solar Halos - S/T

The music on Solar Halos' self-titled LP (on Devouter Records) may not immediately sweep you up and carry you away, but it doesn't take very long for the undulating doom undercurrents to begin to flow around you until, before you even notice, you have been sucked below the surface to find wave after wave of thick, hypnotic riffs washing over you. Once that happens, you can't help but focus on your surroundings. It becomes difficult to escape and, like the mesmerising refraction of the sun's rays as they pierce through from above the water, Nora Rogers' warm, enchanting vocal melodies soon dissolve your desire to swim up for air.

Solar Halos was formed by members who previously played together in ambient noise/doom act, Horseback. Developing from there, the band's music could sit nicely alongside Black Skies' (although heavier and more dynamic), Royal Thunder's (without the overt blues/alternative affectations), or Helms Alee's on Sleepwalking Sailors (without the post-metal eclecticism), while conveying a greater sense of depth and subtlety. The control the band wields over the gradual rise and fall in its songs - marked by surging, swirling guitar and bass riffs interwoven with slow-building crescendos, all carried by John Crouch's colourful drumming - is phenomenal. But even though the music is so entrancing, it doesn't become weak or insipid. Solar Halos' instruments rumble low and loud, and somehow, the balance they strike between transcendent wistfulness and rock-solid, doomy heaviness comes across as completely effortless.

This is a truly impressive release that seems likely to be a grower as its nuances come to light. Check it out here, and for more on Solar Halos, see their website.


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