Album: The Diseased Heart Of Society
Release Date: 3rd March, 2017
Label: UKEM Records
Review by John
It has been almost 10 years since Preston thrashers Solitary released their last studio album, the well received ‘Requiem’. With a live album in between to keep things ticking over, their third studio album ‘The Diseased Heart Of Society’ is finally upon us.
As haunting instrumental ‘Blackened Skies’ begins, you find yourself reminded of the classic thrash albums of old. And if, like me, you remember those albums well, you probably think that, after the gentle opening, things are about to get hard, heavy and brutal. And you would not be wrong.
Over the course of the remaining 9 tracks, things never let up for a single minute.
‘Wait’ begins with the sound of drummer Royston Miller battering you repeatedly around the head and demanding that you sit up and take notice, before the angry snarl of frontman Rich Sherrington grabs you by the throat and makes you listen. Featuring a guest appearance by Stan from Xentrix and a fine solo from Andy Mellor, it’s a strong start. And, as it slowly fades out, things only get better from there.
One thing that has always been notable with Solitary is that they have never shied away from tackling difficult and unpleasant topics (such as Peter Sutcliffe on Requiem’s ‘Predator’) and here it is more noticable than ever, including human trafficking on long time live favourite ‘Unidentified’, the current state of post austerity Britain on the album’s title track, or the dark and unsettling take on the Yewtree scandal that is ‘Architects Of Shame’.
‘Architects’ in particular is a shining example of why Sherrington is one of the more underrated lyricists in metal today. Written from the perspective of the victim (“forever haunted by your stare, I never wanted you right there”), it’s a disturbing insight into the tortured psyche of one who is trying to block out the torment of what happened to them, whist having to constantly see the perpetrator lauded by the wider world.
Running at just over half an hour, ‘The Diseased Heart Of Society’ keeps things tight and on point throughout, and there is not a single wasted second. Standouts include the all out thrash assault of ‘Trigger Point Atrocity’ (an old school thrash anthem in the making), ‘The Edge Of Violence’ (the best song that Exodus never wrote), the aforementioned ‘Architects Of Shame’ and album closer ‘Humanity’s Decline’, which does more in just under three minutes than Metallica did over two discs on their recent release.
Add in some fine production from Simon Efemey, and you are looking at the first real contender for album of the year.
Sounding far better and more essential than recent efforts from the so called “Big Four”, it’s no understatement to say that ‘The Diseased Heart Of Society’ is one of the best thrash albums not only of the last twelve months, but possibly of the last decade. This is a record that understands exactly what thrash is all about. Anger, aggression, epic riffs and lyrics that matter. The heart of society may well be diseased, but it has never sounded so good.
01. Blackened Skies
03. Trigger Point Atrocity
04. Anthem Of Regret
05. Architects Of Shame
06. The Diseased Heart Of Society
08. The Words Define
09. The Edge Of Violence
10. Humanities Decline
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Official.Solitary
Official band website: www.solitary.org.uk