Release Date: February 17, 2023
Genre: Alternative Metal, Electrometal
Label: Hopeless Records Solence, a metal/electronic band based out of Stockholm, Sweden, will be releasing their third record Hope Is A Cult, under Hopeless Records on February 17, 2023. After a solid release with their last record, Defending (2021), on streaming platforms, fans are ecstatic to get another release of the anticipated third record after just two years. Solence is now starting to get more into the mainstream market, from my understanding -in the western markets here in the U.S. and Canada. But as far as previous records, I would say they are some more drawbacks than others I've noticed with a few tracks from this new piece of music.
The album starts with "Rain Down," very much an electronic atmospheric track right from the start. With Markus going strong in the vocals and playing around with the huge electronics and guitars, but after hearing it, I noticed a little repetitiveness from the chorus -which is understandable from typical music pieces they have done in the past. But usually, they tend to spice up a different key or moment in the song but not in this one. But up next is "Best For You," and I feel it helps not to take all the pressure you hear from "Rain Down," as this track is much of a head-bopper right from the get-go. Solence is known for playing a lot with electronics in their music, and you hear that in the middle portion of the track, as well as with Markus' high vocal range, it suits this track perfectly. A bit of repetitiveness I noticed, but they changed it up as they didn't with the previous track.
Next, we have "Demons." They changed it up with harder scream vocals in the middle with the mix of electronic elements in the song. This song very much gives me the same realm as "Smash Into Pieces" throughout listening to it. In the near end having a breakdown surprised me hearing something harder than what has been shown so far. Good track. "Waves" at the very first second almost had an intro that I remember from an older piece from the band, but then builds to this new sound with an unnamed guest woman vocalist out of nowhere. "Waves" feels like a typical mix of soft, but still a hard track that Solence is known for, with the woman vocalist taking the chorus, but Markus balances it out with her the second time around. With a good, big atmospheric ending. Near the end, even the guest vocalist sounded like Amy Lee from Evanescence a little bit. I enjoyed "Waves" a lot.
"Antidote" for myself isn't a "wow track" but more of an "album track." What got me with the song was when I was listening to it halfway through, for some reason, the guitars gave me the same reference as Charlie Puth's 2018 hit song, "Attention," with similar-sounding guitars at some points in the song. Either way, it's not something I'm looking for in my library of music. "Claustrophobia" starts off with a long, electronic intro. It's not a very well-mixed song, as I hear more of the drums, electronics, synths, and other instruments more than the vocalist throughout the song. The song is a strong suit in the record, but if it was mixed better, it probably would have been a strong contender on the record. "_hope is a cult_" is a mini interlude with it being stripped down with a guitar and a drum box at the end that I enjoyed that leads into "Better This Way." "Better This Way" starts off with a big strong start. Then the chorus is similar to a popular song from the social media platform TikTok from another band in this scene. The chorus almost felt original, but the verses throughout keep the song very strong. It's a good song though, either way.
"NuBlood" features Fame On Fire vocalist Bryan Kunzitz. I was bopping my head throughout the song and it was a good switch from the previous songs. Also, this is the first time Solence has a feature in their catalogue. Bryan performed well on the track and I'll be revisiting the song again. "Life Goes On" went grittier than anything I've heard before, with more raspy vocals at the beginning but goes right into the high vocals with an acoustic backing track from Markus. It's something different than what you hear from Solence that I think fans will appreciate a piece like this. "Endless" went almost like Linkin Park at the start with that static-sounding track with that old gritty sound like "In The End." Then it blows you away with electronics -I'm wondering where they got those specific samples for this track. Markus' vocals don't suit this track at all. Sounds like Linkin Park added heavy electronics to their music for this song. It's a good track but mixed strangely with some parts you hear him clearly but in other parts not so much.
"_a new hope_" is a quick piano piece from the band with high chimes in the background that leads into the wildest song I've heard yet. "Blood Sweat Tears" is the longest track on the record -running at 7:16. That's the typical length of a song you see from a progressive metalcore album typically, but on a metal/electronic band's album, it caught me off guard as to why a song this long. "Blood Sweat Tears" starts almost sounding like something from Adam Gontier-era Three Days Grace. Then, Markus' vocals build into something wide. About a minute into the song, it goes full hardcore with the band's electronics with a kind of arena rock chorus that's very repetitive with some repetitive verses throughout the song. Around four minutes into the song, it ends with thunderstorm effects but brings back that acoustic guitar and a nice electronic guitar lead for the ending of the song. I can see this track as a closer for a concert from the band.
Solence wrote some repetitive songs and some head boppers on Hope Is A Cult. But I feel like their previous works were more "groundbreaking" than something like this piece of work. Nonetheless, they are getting more traction here in the western markets. I love bands and artists changing their sounds and finding new ways to bring their music to a new way to fans. As for this record. I'm not much of a fan of this new sound. But I can't wait to see what's in store for the band in the future.
Check out more from Solence: