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Solterra - Umbra CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.04 | 4 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Short lived group worth seeking out

In November 2015 Solterra played their final show and unfortunately they have hung it up after four years. "Umbra" is categorized as an EP on this site but it certainly feels like a full album release to me. It falls short of their superb 2014 high point "Future Man" which was one of my favorite releases of that year. But not by much.

"Umbra" is Latin for "shadow" and is often used to refer to the darkest part of a shadow, and in the context of space which is where the music takes us here. Umbra is less heavy and less aggressive generally than Future Man, opting to embrace the spacy vibe without hesitation. And yet they certainly can be heavy. This is a band that should appeal to fans of older Porcupine Tree with celestial lead guitars, layered, often soaring and sometimes locking into mechanical note flourishes thin and futuristic sounding. Behind this is a rhythm section that loves to lock into metallic grooves and bold riffs, but they nicely balance out the weight of the track between possibly conflicting moods, light and heavy variation. As there are no vocals the band does rely on sampled audio clips related to the concepts of space, Sci-Fi, and Hunter Thompson. They certainly present sections that veer into progressive metal territory but always with a more mature perspective, holding subtlety and mood to the fore more than crushing sound--at times even toying with post-rock chill. The six lively tracks are beautifully separated by a short interlude called "The Bridge" featuring the soothing narrative of Carl Sagan. At times I felt like this album should be longer but perhaps it is nice to have this "kind" of album in a succinct form. If you don't have 75 minutes you can still take a nice trip in half the time.

This is a solid release worthy of your time but just a bit less impressive, a bit less fully realized than their swan song. Check this out if you love modern and heavy spacy prog, you can still hear their works by following the website link on their ProgArchives artist page to Bandcamp. Quite a shame they disbanded but best of luck gentlemen!

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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