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Solterra - Future Man CD (album) cover

FUTURE MAN

Solterra

 

Crossover Prog

4.38 | 9 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The future rocks

Could it be that Denver is becoming the next American city I need to focus on? After being thrilled with the Denver metal act Seris I now stumble upon the Bandcamp page of a four piece rock band called Solterra. The cool cover art sucks me in as I lament that if left guy is supposed to be Future Man I'll hate the future even more than I do the present.

So here we have a 4-piece combining elements of instrumental rock, post-rock, jazz, and metal. Influences such as Rush, Tool, Mars Volta, and Zeppelin are all listed. Their previous album "Umbra" (2012) had more of a spacey vibe with less aggressive guitar leads and inclusion of recorded spoken word narrative. With "Future Man" Solterra (featuring a new lead guitarist) are pushing a much heavier sound. The soaring aerial sound replaced by much more aggressive chops and crunch in the guitar chords.

A reviewer for Sputnik criticized the band for the somewhat erratic/eclectic blender of a song structure that Future Man employs. It is true, many of the tracks feature multiple styles changing herky jerk from one to the next, with starts and stops, and sudden mood changes. While his point is taken I don't agree that the manic nature of the style degrades Future Man, in fact the unease that sometimes comes through may be playing directly to the album's themes.

With no vocalist or keyboardist to flesh out dynamics, it's a challenge to hold an audience for an hour. Solterra more than nail it down. These jam happy songs are completely engaging and do not trade away their groove for the cold pursuit of technical chop. I think they move quite effortlessly from raging near-metal fury to light and nimble fusion, with elegance and mood in between. Even some lovely slow, clean chord progressions set to thoughtful bass lines and post-rock inclinations. I hate to single people out because the whole band is great, but the lead guitar here is beautifully done, often knocking me out with emotion and exuberance. And I'm just as impressed with the drumming. Very organic, quite busy, but a nice combination of monster fills with ample gut punch right when you want it.

This is quite obviously a band that is well on the early side of the arc in terms of being enraptured by the joy of playing....you can hear that they absolutely love to play. As instrumental rock bands go these guys are every bit as thrilling as D.F.A., Ohm, or Mushroom Giant. A super effort and a consistent one.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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