Solstice @ Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden, 28 May 2016

There are two active Solstices around, both having released several albums. That might incur some confusion. One is a classic doom band from the UK. However the band now touring Europe is the US death / thrash combo. And with them they brought to more bands.

The opening act of the evening is the Italian Sofisticator. They play quite traditional thrash metal with humourous lyrics, especially leaning on the bay-area sound from the early 80s. Very retro and not an original note was played. I hear a lot of Exodus and early Slayer style riffing in there. The guitar tandem does well, and so does the drummer. The bass on the other hand was quite forgettable, and the vocals rather bland and boring. But the up-side there is quite some energy in this band. So not bad.

The second band is Thrash or Die. On metal archives they get a score around the 10%. Obviously this is also thrash, with some really campy lyrics and visual imagery. Actually there is a lot of similarity between this and the previous band. There is not a speck of originality in it. They had to leave their singer in the US due to illness or something. So they a short set played as a trio with the guitarist taking over the vocal duties.

The main act of the evening was of course Solstice. Actually this is the same band as Thrash or Die with a second guitarist added. So there was little time necessary for a change-over. Musically this however is a very different beast. This has solid riffs and good songwriting. The singer now uses a grunt style instead of a thrash style, which suits him much better. They released two albums in the 90s of which I only knew the debut – and after they resurfaced many years later, they released some newer material as well. However they stuck to the 90s material, and played 3 or 4 songs of Pray and nearly the entire self-titled album including the Carnivore cover. Quite a awesome gig and quite fun to hear these all tunes live.

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