Solitude Aeturnus - Into the Depths of Sorrow (1991)Release ID: 1970

Solitude Aeturnus - Into the Depths of Sorrow (1991) Cover
Ben Ben / May 16, 2019 / Comments 0 / 1

In the mid to late 80s, doom metal seemed to be split into two factions. There were the traditional Black Sabbath inspired bands such as Trouble, Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus etc and then there was Candlemass, who managed to create an epic, dark, dare I say operatic style of doom. This was the style that really caught my attention and it would be 5 years before any other bands would follow this lead. Solitude Aeturnus are the band that took up the challenge and what a magnificent album Into the Depths of Sorrow is!

This album manages to create a mood of sorrow and loss (as all good doom should) while also uplifting the listener, taking them on a voyage into distant, beautiful landscapes. That may sound pretentious, but I can honestly tell you that this album is like pure escapism for me. I can't listen to exquisite tracks like Dream of Immortality, with its romanticised middle eastern flavours, without being swept off to another world. A few reviewers below have mentioned the drums as being a sour point. I guess they are a little simplistic at times but then this music doesn't really require much more than a pounding yet minimal approach. The riffs are monumentally good throughout, never venturing too far from the blueprint that Candlemass had already laid out, although there are the occasional trips into mild thrashy power metal elements. But it's Robert Lowe's vocals that really take Into the Depths of Sorrow to the classic level. He has loads of talent and is constantly captivating and powerful. Check out Mirror of Sorrow to experience just how beautiful his emotional performance is.

It's hard to pick highlights as the entire album is worth your time, but I'd have to pick Opaque Divinty, Dream of Immortality and Mirror of Sorrow as my favourites. If you're at all interested in doom metal and haven't given Solitude Aeturnus a listen, don't hesitate!

Daniel Daniel / February 10, 2024 / Comments 0 / 0

Dallas-based epic doom metal masters Solitude Aeturnus really surprised me with their 2006 "Alone" sixth full-length when Ben selected it for The Fallen feature release status some time ago. I'd previously allowed the band to pass me by but that record ticked all of my boxes & saw me claiming it as a genuine doom metal classic for the ages. Since that time I've always intended on exploring the rest of Solitude Aeturnus' more highly celebrated releases & thought I'd take this opportunity to kick that exercise off with their debut full-length "Into The Depths Of Sorrow" which is generally regarded as one of the elite examples of the niche subgenre overall.

In many ways "Into The Depths Of Sorrow" is the quintessential epic doom metal release in that it perfectly embodies the sound that the tag was originally created to label. All of the subgenres calling cards are here. Crushing doom riffs? CHECK! A strong classic heavy metal influence? CHECK! Theatrical power metal style vocals? CHECK! Soaring, shredtastic guitar solos? CHECK! A generally epic atmosphere? CHECK! I can't deny that the album is everything it said it would be on the tin & if that description sounds like something that'd appeal to you then you won't be disappointed but it did take me a couple of listens to get fully into for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I'm a much bigger doom fan than I am a heavy metal one & the heavy metal component is particularly prevalent here with those riffs being pretty standard heavy metal fodder & nothing particularly exciting so I find myself waiting around for the doom to return which it inevitably does & with devastating effect too. There's obviously a lot of Candlemass influence on show as this was Solitude Aeturnus' first full-length & Candlemass were, of course, the creators & clear leaders of the epic doom movement so there are clear similarities in the way the two bands go about their craft but the area that Solitude Aeturnus fall down in as far as that comparison goes is in the guitar solos as Edgar Rivera & John Perez aren't quite as virtuosic in their capabilities. Thankfully, the general quality of the song-writing is very strong & the vocals of future Candlemass, Concept of God & Tyrant front man Robert Lowe are exceptional which has gone a long way to seeing me crowning Solitude Aeturnus as my favourite band from the epic doom movement overall regardless.

The tracklisting kicks off in very solid fashion indeed with the short intro track "Dawn of Antiquity (A Return to Despair)" building the atmosphere nicely before the first proper song "Opaque Divinity" kicks in & wastes no time in flexing its muscles. It's followed by "Transcending Sentinels" which is clearly the least impressive track on the album in my opinion but is still pretty decent. The remaining five songs are all very strong indeed though & round out a particularly consistent album with no real blemishes. The reason I don't see "Into The Depths Of Sorrow" competing with "Alone" for bragging rights as my favourite epic doom metal release any time soon is that it doesn't contain as many genuine classics. The utterly mind-blowing "Mirror of Sorrow" is the clear highlight of the album & is frankly one of the best examples of the subgenre I've experienced to date but none of the other material comes close to matching it with the brilliant doom passages regularly having their impact offset a bit by some flatter heavy metal chug riffs. It's a shame really as I think there was a lot of potential for another classic release here if a bit of quality control had been employed.

At the end of the day though, I can't be too critical as "Into The Depths Of Sorrow" is still an impressively consistent first-up effort from one of the leaders of the movement. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that it's eclipsed all but "Alone" & Candlemass' classic "Nightfall" album in reaching my personal top three for the subgenre overall which is quite an accolade when you consider the areas of improvement I highlighted above. The experience has certainly left me wondering whether Solitude Aeturnus have managed to top their debut over the course of their next four records so I've penciled a couple of them in for exploration in the not too distant future. In the meantime though, "Into The Depths Of Sorrow" should be essential listening for all of you Candlemass, Solstice & Isole fans out there.

UnhinderedbyTalent UnhinderedbyTalent / February 20, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

My struggles with Solitude Aeturnus (or more Rob's vocals) have been documented before on Metal Academy, so seeing their debut album crop up on The Fallen challenge hardly filled me with joy in all honesty.  I deliberately left it to the end thinking that to some degree the outcome was more or less set that I would be disappointed with the album overall.  Epic doom has a bar that was set high by the mighty Candlemass and is often a level that is failed to be lived up to in my experience so I go into most epic doom records with my guard firmly up.

Except, here I soon find myself dropping my dukes, within mere minutes in fact I am sat nodding appreciatively along to Into the Depths of Sorrow before I even know it.  My concerns that Rob's vocals are going to be a whiny and whimpering affair are not founded as it turns out, in fact I think he submits a very measured and yet clearly strong performance over the eight tracks on offer.  I will not pretend to love all of his work on here (things so go astray badly on closing track, Where Angels Dare to Tread) but in the main this is a much better experience than I was expecting.  The album has much more to it than Rob of course.  Rivera and Perez are a pair of riff demons and they are the real engine of Into the Depths of Sorrow.  There are times when things are not exactly going to my liking in every other aspect of the sound but I still have no beef with the guitar work that is going on.  It is more subtle than you would think at first also.  They are happy to pick strings when necessary to let other parts of the music take a front seat but then out of nowhere comes a lead, fired like a bullet across the track to take things off in a new direction.

I have a couple of minor criticisms that are enough to keep the album away from the top end of the scoring chart.  The drums have an odd sterility to them which half the time I think works well and the other half I feel is just a bit odd sounding.  They have presence, absolutely they do, but at the same time they have an almost programmed feel to them which is odd considering that John Covington is sat behind the skins.  Also, in parts, I feel the album is too epic for its own good.  I mean when Transcending Sentinels starts, you are fucking ready for it to start as it seems to have an unnecessarily long build up.  But these are minor quibbles on a record that has been a great end to my The Fallen clan challenge.


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 9 | Reviews: 3


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 8 | Reviews: 3


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 7


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 7

Into the Depths of Sorrow
The Fallen
Doom Metal

Doom Metal (conventional)

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