For fans of artists like la dispute, Deadmau5, and anything dark and weirdly abstract, you ‘might’ enjoy SOL’s latest record, The Storm Bells Chime. I clearly didn’t. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t understand the art, or if the art didn’t understand me, but The Storm Bells Chime just wasn’t for me. It’s so abstract that I’m still confused after hearing this record. The only reason this band doesn’t get a zero is because I admire the artistic creativity. To be diverse in this day and age is difficult, everything has been done according to anyone with a keyboard and a social media account, but SOL managed to be something new and unique. Unfortunately, these guys took it too far.
According to their facebook, they classify themselves as doom metal and esoteric drones. Only one of those things is correct. The only thing making it remotely close to doom is the guitar sprinkled throughout the record. It sounds like a lack of creativity when a line is just repeated in a ‘drone-like’ fashion for too long like in the tracks, “Ascending to the Embrace of Clouds” and “Greet the Dawn (For F).” It’s as if deadmau5 started composing for metal bands but kept his signature style. It doesn’t work as far as making an impact on the listener because the structures of the songs are just so abstract. I felt as though I was having a bad drug trip while listening to this album.
The two best songs on this album were the first and last because they were mostly instrumental piano minus a bit of throat singing in the track, “The Sky is Empty.” The fact that the rest of the album was more or less the same made these two stand out. Other than those two, if you were to fast-forward to any point in the album, you wouldn’t miss anything. It’s repetitive in the uncomfortable kind of way and filled with so much unnecessary yelling. Not one track, even the two ‘highlights,’ have a significant impact, especially for doom metal. There should be at least a few cadences of the genre here and there. If they’re classified as doom, play a riff too! Add some drums beyond just tom hits.
The whole point of this record is creativity, it doesn’t need more creativity, but like modern art, it’s just not for everyone. I’m sure a lot of love, passion and time went into this, but this record falls short of even being memorable. If you want to disagree, however, please check out SOL.
Written by Rian Cunningham
*edited by Danielle Kenedy