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SOLTERRA

Crossover Prog • United States


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Solterra biography
US band SOLTERRA was formed in the summer of 2011, initially a studio based improvisational project consisting of Ryan Bannigan (drums) and Tanner Lichty (guitars). Following an initial demo EP Chris Dreiling (bass) joined the band, and in February of 2012 the threesome released their debut album "Soul » Earth » Sun". Following this the band started performing live when occasion allowed, following the addition of Ryan Sims (guitars) to the line-up. And in November 2012 the first production by this revised incarnation of Solterra was released in the shape of the seven track EP "Umbra".

In late 2014 the band released the impressive "Future Man" which marks the debut of new guitarist Graham Zander.

Solterra played their farewell show in November 2015 and have unfortunately disbanded to pursue other musical interests.

Solterra official website

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SOLTERRA discography


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SOLTERRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Soul » Earth » Sun
2012
4.35 | 8 ratings
Future Man
2014

SOLTERRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SOLTERRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SOLTERRA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SOLTERRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 4 ratings
Umbra
2012

SOLTERRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Umbra by SOLTERRA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.04 | 4 ratings

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Umbra
Solterra Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator 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!

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 Future Man by SOLTERRA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.35 | 8 ratings

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Future Man
Solterra Crossover Prog

Review by 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.

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 Soul » Earth » Sun by SOLTERRA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Soul » Earth » Sun
Solterra Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars Looking back on Solterra's first LP, it becomes obvious how far they've come. Their initial fusion was very soft, devoid of other genres, and often comes out as muzak. It is enjoyable enough, but there wasn't much to it, and they don't even do any kind of wonderful, unique take on the more muzak sections that, for instance, Trout Cake did. "Lounging" I liked particularly, but this is rather bland stuff. They play their instruments well, but not with the energy and love that they clearly would show later to maximum effect. Just listening to this, I would've taken Solterra for an easy listening band. Nice, but rather plain, and would be massively improved upon by time of the excellent "Future Man".

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 Future Man by SOLTERRA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.35 | 8 ratings

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Future Man
Solterra Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Solterra's 2014 release lies somewhere between modern takes on fusion and heavy prog, and turns out as an excellent year ender. The band place themselves first and foremost into the realm of fusion when describing themselves, but the very modern, at times pretty heavy, leanings are immediately apparent on the spectacular opening title track, which also of course shows off their fusion side. Throw PT, Machine Mass Trio, and "Turn On The Bright Lights" into a blender set to "progressive" and you get this wonderful combination. Going forward, there is an interesting and enjoyable mix of the two styles, and no track particularly sticks out only because every track is pretty good. I will mention "Enoch" as the best track, with particularly heavy sounds amongst the quieter and wonderful fusion material, and it leads into "Soliloquy", a small but beautiful track, very well. This is just an enjoyable mix of seemingly disparate modern trends played excellently. Post-2000 PT fans may find most to savour here, but modern prog fans in general should all find enjoyment in this record.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Finnforest for the last updates

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