Review: “XXV” EP by Solitary

Hitting a milestone anniversary is always a call for celebration, the question is simply “how?”. In the case of 80’s Thrashers Solitary, who are also rejoined after an 18 year gap by original bassist Gaz Harrop, they signed up for Bloodstock. While working on a new album for 2020, vocalist/guitarist Rich Sherrington, lead guitarist Andy Mellor and drummer Roy Miller joined Harrop in the studio to do an Anthrax. While the Big Four Thrashers put it to the public to vote for tunes to re-record for “The Greater Of Two Evils”, Solitary made up their own minds and re-recorded a trio of their classic cuts while also adding a pair from a live show at London’s iconic Camden Underworld where they shared a stage with Darkane! They even managed to coax artist Koot (Saxon, The Almighty, The Exploited) out of retirement to do the cover art!

Over the duration of the bands career, these songs have been part of their live set and favourites of fans so in the re-recordings there is a need to capture that live energy and go for that all out violence and adrenaline. “Requiem” is first out of the gate from its life sentence and chugs around in Exodus fashion with plenty of vim and venom to unleash a life sentence worth of experience while telling the story of apocalyptic grandeur in true Thrash style. It may have only been released 11 years ago in 2008 but the overhaul with new production, mixing and mastering serves it well. Originally appearing on 1998’s critically acclaimed “Nothing Changes” comes “Within Temptation”. After a driven bassline opening Sherrington harnesses his inner Evan Seinfeld for some Biohazard esq vocals with a looser live feel to the guitars that brings it to life and gives it a surprising hardcore vibe. Another cut from 2008’s critically acclaimed “Requiem” album, this newer version of “Keep Your Enemies Closer” is 6 seconds shorter than the original and that’s all in the pacing. The stand out kit work out from Miller features plenty of double bass kicks and cymbal smashes around the classically inspired Thrash-ter-piece riffage. The elongated mid-tune solo is a real showcase for what are capable of and a face melter, while the second solo over a breakdown to close takes it to the next level. The pair of live tunes are both from the bands now two year old 2017 album “The Diseased Heart Of Society” which is no doubt why they’ve gone with live cuts rather than re-recordings. There is a bootleg quality to both cuts with the kit being a bit bigger in the mix than the guitars, but it’s not an issue and gives a real flavour of what their live show it about. “Architects Of Shame” has a who can play faster energy – think holding onto your hat on a bucking bronco at full tilt – as well as a masterful technical Thrash solo. “The Diseased Heart Of Society” slows things down a notch for that dark stop intro before smashing out of the park a classic tune. It’s a roar of defiance as well as being a socially aware and insightful lyric laced cut that once again has a gravity defying solo! [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Requiem
  2. Within Temptation
  3. Keep Your Enemies Closer
  4. Architects Of Shame (Live)
  5. The Diseased Heart Of Society (Live)

“XXV” by Solitary will be released on 9th August via Doc Records with pre-orders here.

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