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Solstice Coil - Natural Causes CD (album) cover

NATURAL CAUSES

Solstice Coil

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3 stars Strange band, this Israelian band.

Describing their music somewhere between Dream Theater and Radiohead, they are not making things easy for themselves when it comes to attracting new fans. In particular when this description is very accurate. They have Dream Theater's guitar sound and Radiohead's vocals. Inbetween, you get a post rock bass and drums. Hence, the music on this album is somewhere in the triangle between Dream Theater, Radiohead and post rock. Mostly post rock though, I have to say. And that is the genre this band should be moved to.

The music on this album is pretty melancholic as in post rock post modernism. The sound and songs is based on guitars with some help from some Hammond organs and sometimes cello and violins. The vocals is great. The same is the cover art work which I am sure will draw in a lot of curious new people to this band too.

The overall quality of the songs are very good throughout. I am missing some really killer tracks (my regular complaint !). But this is a very good post rock album which may have a more wider appeal too. This band is well worth keeping an eye on.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#499671)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Israel may not have the most abundant progressive rock scene in the world, but the latest outing from Solstice Coil proves that the country is far from empty. Natural Causes is a unique album that blends styles old and new into an original modern prog rock concoction. You'll hear melancholic progressive rock, pop, jazz, alternative rock, post rock, and metal before this CD is over, yet Solstice Coil manages to combine all of their influences in a way that doesn't feel forced or inconsistent. Natural Causes isn't an absolutely flawless masterpiece, but it's an extremely promising sophomore effort and I'll be curious to hear where Solstice Coil heads in the future. This is an outstanding effort that fans of progressive rock with modern connotations should investigate.

I'd say that the music here lies somewhere between Porcupine Tree, Pain of Salvation, Radiohead, Marillion, and Spock's Beard. Although an eclectic list of bands for sure, the heavy-edged, energetic, and often melancholic modern progressive rock that Solstice Coil creates here brings each of these acts to mind a few times. The songwriting is generally very strong, and "Singalong Deathtrap" is my personal favorite track here - the busy rhythm section combined with the beautiful vocal melodies make this one of the finest songs I've heard all year. In terms of production and musicianship, Solstice Coil are also absolutely top-notch. This is a tight-playing and professional act, and the sleek production helps accentuate every note that is played. My only real complaint with the entire album is that it's a bit too long for its own good. Even though all of the songs are good, a solid fifteen minutes or so could have easily been shaved off of the 70 minute playing time for a more well- rounded experience. It's a minor issue, though, and I'm sure it won't detract from anybody's enjoyment of Natural Causes.

Solstice Coil is a new band to me, but they have definitely shown their worth with this fantastic observation. An album that manages to find the perfect balance between eclecticism, memorability, and complexity immediately gains my attention, and the overall strength of the music easily makes Natural Causes one of the year's most recommendable progressive rock releases. People who enjoy progressive rock with a modern and slightly melancholic touch should find plenty to love here - I know that I did. 4 stars are very well-deserved for this impressive effort. I have no doubt that this Israeli band has a very bright future ahead of them.

Report this review (#536775)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Natural Causes' - Solstice Coil (7/10)

I first heard of this Israeli band through a humourous documentary that the band did concerning their search for a new drummer. In this video, the music they were playing sounded like a bit similar to Dream Theater, so I was interested in checking out what they had to offer. Although this band has been around for a couple of years now, they are only now picking up speed in the progressive music scene with their second full-length album, entitled 'Natural Causes'. With depth to their music, good songwriting and beautiful album artwork to boot, Solstice Coil represents the Israeli music scene well.

Although my first impression with Solstice Coil was that their music was progressive metal, I was only half right; this band leans towards a variety of different sounds, drawing them all into a mixing pot, and metal happens to be one of them. My greatest impression of this album is hearing melodic vocals overtop a warm string section and atmospheric guitars, although we also hear this band getting quite energetic, and even exercising a sense of ironic humour at points. Although the album is fairly nicely put together, Solstice Coil passes me as a song-based act, with most of these songs bringing something a little different to the table. Of course, this sacrifices the sense of flow and cohesion to the album- its greatest weakness- but I found myself interested in what the band was doing, even despite its drawn out length of seventy minutes.

The songwriting and way the songs are arranged are both very good, although there is one thing that I felt was lacking here, that being the dearth of too many memorable melodies. Although Shir Deutch is a fairly good vocalist, there are surprisingly few times on this record where the melodies really got through. This is largely because the band gets a little ambitious for their own good. There are so many things going on with the instruments, almost as if the music was written so that no musician would get bored while playing it. Don't get me wrong- this is good in a way, because it leaves plenty of stuff to discover on a second or third listen. The one drawback is that there is not any song in particular that really stands out.

Solstice Coil are an eclectic bunch, and their material here is enjoyable and dynamic, although I would not yet say that they have perfected some of the finer aspects of their craft. All the same, I could never criticize this band for having a lack of ambition, so it should be interesting to see where that inspiration leads them once that energy becomes more focused.

Report this review (#540616)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars Solstice Coil is a band formed in Tel Aviv, Isrel, in 2001. Natural Causes (2011) is their second album. The album was recorded during 2 years in Bardo Studios.

A bit of Dream Theater can be heard across the whole album, especially in the first track 'Questions Irrelevant'. You can also hear Opeth and Riverside influences in tracks like 'Fall Schedules' and you can have a deja vu feeling.

'I Know' and 'Human Again' has Yatziv Caspi and Yaniv Shalev as the main men. They also have a ballads called 'Singalong Deathtrap' and 'Walking Graveyards' that are pretty moments. The later one remembering a mix between Riverside and Porcupine Tree.

'Too Many Regreats' is Prog Metal again and 'Moral Oxidation' has a modern approach, like The Mars Volta & Coheed and Cambria. 'Designed Instincts' is dramatic and 'Recipe For Eternity' closes the album on a high note.

Solstice Coil don't focus their strenghts only in complexity and have a broader influence. Natural Causes (2011) is a very good album, but the deja vu moments are everywhere, maybe too much influence. Waiting for the next album.

Report this review (#540923)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'm not within my comfort zone with this Israeli band, but here's a recycling of my magazine review from October 2012. Solstice Coil have been active since 2001 though only two albums have been released; this is the second. They themselves place their music in between Dream Theater and Radiohead, and that correlates pretty well my own reception. This is not exactly (prog)metal but it comes quite close. The guitars roar loudly and the sound wall is thick and electrified. Imagine modern Rush with more keyboards, anxiety and a hurry to make everything fit into 5-6 minute packages. Often the songs start in a disguisingly delicate manner, but with no time at all they turn into more aggressive expression. Even at its most slow the atmosphere is full of tension and restlessness. To me personally this is not a good thing! Simply there's too much of stuff. Just by decreasing some of the loud guitars one could much better enjoy the details of the overall sound.

There's no doubt these guys know how to play. The vocals are not very bad either as they avoid the worst Radiohead-moans. The keyboard arsenal includes electric piano, and if I'm not mistaken also Mellotron appears (unless it's the string quartet that guests on the album). The rhythmic complexity is handled skillfully.

'Replacing People' is a near-ballad, but just like eveything else it suffers from too tight soundscape. To me the whole album seems to have the same depressed mood. I do like some "depressed" music of Porcupine Tree or Anathema or other that kind of "heavy" artists, (not to mention the mighty Van der Graaf Generator, naturally) but this music lacks the needed variety between the songs and the more ambient side of bands like Porcupine Tree. My impression is tiresome, overserious tension, and I really can't stand spending a whole hour with it.

My rating? Again, as I'm emphasizing my subjective reception, two stars will do, even though those who are the real target of this music will surely appreciate it a lot.

Report this review (#1115401)
Posted Friday, January 17, 2014 | Review Permalink

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