Critical Solution ‘Sleepwalker’

Introducing Norwegian horror thrash metal outfit ‘Critical Solution’.  Combining thrash metal with horror story lines and sounds never heard before, the band’s European tour of 2013 saw them supporting the likes of Marduk and Grave, taking the band to 13 countries, performing more than 20 shows.’Sleepwalker’ is their second full-length album, available soon.  Brand new single also coming soon.

The Curse – Creaking door, chilling riffs, horror movie lines of vague familiarity, with soundtrack of indeterminate, but definitely haunting noises, to make the mind boggle.  Laced with intrigue, compelling you to continue to the next track.

Sleepwalker – Title track, with the most banging intro!  Ramps up the excitement factor, with its heavy duty drumming, riffing and vocals.  Great harmonies, pulled off in one of the most difficult sub-genres to fit them into.  A very strong, united sound about this.  Catchy choruses, with more haunting, yet fun riffs, combining thrash, speed, doom and horror all in one go.  Genius.  Getting catchier towards the end with some distinctly Hetfieldesque vocals and solid beats and rhythms.  This works and you’ve got to love it for its excitability, if nothing else.

Welcome To Your Nightmare – Another banging opening, with a definite Testament flavour.  Loving the sound of the lyrics and the quickfire rapid pace.  Some very powerful variations in pace, in there too, alternating between sounds aswell.  Loving those riffs at the end.  Like shooting stars firing up into the sky.  Perfect ending.

Blood Stained Hands – Liking the seasoned way in which this is gradually opened, using various elements of percussion, joined in perfect time, by the riffs and vocals.  I particularly like the sound of the vocals in here.  Something grungy, yet heavy and gritty about them.  A definite standout factor.  Combining a mixture of vocal styles and sounds which produces a very tasty, memorable sound.  Imagine Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Metallica, Soundgarden, Pink Floyd and Down, in a room together and you’ll get some idea.  This whole track is like they’ve taken the cream of the rock and metal genres and combined them, to create something even better.  Not at all sure about the bleep of the life-support machine at the end…. it does seem like superfluous overkill in the face of what’s already gone before it.  You had it down right before, guys.  Don’t mess with perfection.

Murder In The Night – A slightly ghostly echoey trance like quality to the intro of this!  Followed by some very beautiful acoustic riffs, accompanied by the squeaky sound of an unknown element we left a few tracks back.  Ah now there are the kind of riffs I like!!!  Hard, heavy and unmistakable, in true metal spirit.  Quickly joined by equally heavy drumming not to be argued with.  Heavier and heavier till it thunders down on you.  Finishing with a return to the sinister soundscape of the mean city streets, late at night and a newsreel of events…  Very apt.

Evidence Of Things Unseen – Bang!  That’s the only way to describe that no-nonsense drumming intro!  Joined by the wail of ambulance and police sirens and ferociously heavy riffs and bass line, combined with some more Hetfieldesque vocals and the combo works well.  A very catchy quality to it.  Returning to the sinister overtones in the midsection, closely followed by even faster, harder riffs, with a lighter hand and a poundingly sexy feel to them and that’s how it ends.  Whichever song ended with the lyrics ‘that’s how the story ends’, must have been influenced by this track.

Lt Elliot – Oh this here is a very Sabbath-esque intro indeed.  That same heavy as hell, doom laden, dark and sinister bass line, with matching riffs, drumbeats, lyrics and vocal style.  In fact, it could almost be ‘Black Sabbath’.  Bloody hell, this really is like a modern-day Sab.  I can’t say I’ve ever heard any band of this era capture that level of sheer harder than hell sound and feel.  These guys have got it nailed.  If you like your music dark and floorboard shakingly heavy, then this is the band for you.

Dear Mother – In total contrast, the vibe changes completely, to a much softer, gentler feel initially, putting me in mind of ‘Laguna Sunrise’, before changing up a gear, to increase the heaviness again, becoming audibly more melodic and tuneful, till you just want to join in.  A long track this may be, but it certainly makes the most of every minute and you will want to listen!  I’m loving those melodic choruses and just as I was about to say they remind me of sailing songs, the lyrics mention sailors).  Had to stop writing to join in with that epic, EPIC, drum section!!!  I think my head’s going to fall off.  This damn track just gets catchier and catchier to the end.  Beautiful.  Beyond.  Belief.

Death Lament – Stirring, blistering opening riffs.  The drums and vocals join in and match the mood, pace, sound and feel brilliantly.  Expressive as fuck!  Just absolutely exploding with metal fury, fire and brimstone.  Love it.  One of those which is actually so hard to write about, cos you just have to join in with it, which, imo, says it all.  The light of metal lives here, in this song.

Back From The Grave – Very gentle acoustic and electric opening combined, which is true beauty in song.  Oh yes!  Soon overtaken by one of the most insistent, steel laden drum sections you’ve ever heard.  Those vocals are just strength itself.  Gorgeous fade out riffs.  Stunning.

Overall – Another life affirming masterpiece from Vlad Promotions.  Fire fuelled, energetic, rocketing with life and buzzing with some of the most unforgettable aspects of metal you will ever have the privilege to hear.  It says something about a band who can move so smoothly from sombre, doom filled darkness at one end, to fun, excited, light-hearted thrash and speed at the other, whilst combining them with horror elements of sinister intrigue.  This is amongst the most unique and memorable of the most unique and memorable standout albums of its time.  You need to hear this.

Favourite track – ‘Dear Mother’.

For utter ingenuity, flame filled riffs, stand alone, powerful, compelling vocals and lyrics and sheer doom laden, blackened heaviness beyond anything in the drums and bass lines and general mind blowing qualities, I simply have to give this 10/10. **********

For fans of Black Sabbath, Testament, Metallica, AIC, Pink Floyd, Gothic horror bands in general and Trivax in particular.


2 Responses to “Critical Solution ‘Sleepwalker’”

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