I knew Stefan Nordström for his page deathdoom.com where he writes interesting recommendations about death/doom bands and their latest projects and it’s highly recommended if you are a fan of this type of music. For the content of the page, I supposed that Stefan had a vast knowledge of the genre and good taste, and I expected that any album released by him would be up to both facts. And I wasn’t wrong: Contemplations (2018), second LP of his band Soliloquium, together with the bassist Jonas Bergkvist. is a wonderful example of oldschool doom rooted in the sound of early Katatonia or Rapture. Far from the drama or melancholy in which other melodic death/doom bands are centered, Soliloquium brings us plain sadness. A deep, quiet sadness, but still capable of emotion. Each note of the album seems to be placed there for a reason, every detail is carefully planned, the music knows perfectly where it wants to take you … Contemplations is an album that has everything in the right place and in the right measure, which also it is noticeable in its lyrical part, because the lyrics, although apparently simple, are actually cleverly thought, and appeal to deep questions.
The disquitting atmosphere is built from the first notes of the pairing Chains/Chatarsis and the heavy riffing that opens the first of them. The deep growls and the bass line, as well as the good production of the music, attract attention. I’ve always thought that to open an album with a very long song is risky but, in the case of Chains, the alternation between moments of calm and more intensity and the fact that it doesn’t conform to the typical verse-chorus-verse structure make the nine minutes it lasts not boring at all. The last section of the song and its beautiful clean voices also worths it. Based mostly on heavy riffing, a sober lead guitar that focuses on highlighting the same phrases and transitions between sections very well executed, the death/oldschool doom style presented in the first track stays in the next song, Chatarsis. So similar to Chains that it seems it is almost the same track, although neither the melody nor the guitar are so striking, the truth is that it has ended up being one of my favorite songs out of the album. The acoustic guitar and clean vocals that alternate with the ‘chorus’ and the lead guitar from 2:40 to 3:30 are enough to convince anyone.
Streetlights begins in a somewhat abrupt way considering how its predecessor ends, but it is nothing serious. This track is a dark and disturbing instrumental theme where the bass line shines again throughout the song, without leaving behind the percussion and the guitar, evoking an image of the night city much darker than we are used to. And finally we reached 22, the song that caught my attention the first time I listened to the record because it’s so similar to Rapture that it seems that they had taken it out of one of their albums. But don’t get me wrong, although clearly inspired by this band, the truth is that the song transcends that influence. Minimalist and introspective, with a minimal percussion that is limited to the ‘beat of a heart’ and whispering vocals, it is simply a sublime theme that will delight anyone who listens to it.
Unfulfilling Prophecy wake us up from the dream with the sound of what it seems to be a clock alarm and takes us back to the Chains/Chatarsis sound with impressive drums mixed with a bit of Rapture from minute 4:00. For the Accursed is the second instrumental track that makes things slow down and get a bit emotional. The simplicity of drums, guitars and bass and the melodies they build make it another one of my favorite songs. This high moment in the album is followed by another of my top songs: In Affect. The intro for this tune is simply amazing and the music turns really intense as the track goes on, specially the lead guitar, that in this tune takes the central stage. With the last track, Wanderlust, the album ends as it started, with a nine minute long song that displays all the potential of the band and kind of summarize all we have listened to previously, highlightning the final part from minute 7:00.
So, Contemplations is a very good job and it hasn’t much room for any further changes or improvement, being a very strong album the way it is. Althought the inspirations of the music are very clear since the first note, Soliloquium manage to transcend them and show a style and personality of their own. And the fact that this is the work of only two people in the band makes it even more atonishing. We’ll see how things turn out of the band in the future, but I bet it’ll be good. Until next time!