Going in to this review of SOLITUDE’s album entitled “Reach for the Sky” released in North America through the Test Your Metal Records label I had no expectations because I knew little to nothing of this band hailing from Tokyo, Japan. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised and it’s a solid Metal album with a ton of classic influences.
SOLITUDE was formed in 1996 as I before mentioned in Tokyo by members Takamasa “Mad” Ohuchi on Drums, Toru Nishida on Bass, Akira Sugiuchi on Vocals and Shingo Ida on Guitars. Their previous releases were all through the Japanese label Spiritual Beast which distributes throughout the Orient such classic metal from artists such as RAVEN, DIAMOND HEAD also AGENT STEEL and include SOLITUDE’s 2001’s “Virtual Image”, 2009’s “Brave the Storm” and a 2015 previous release of this album “Reach for the Sky”
With a North American release date of November 25th a few things were made very clear to me after a few listens that these dudes from Japan can jam. I couldn’t help but hear the influences of Saxon, Motorhead and maybe even some Accept and definitely Iron Maiden.
The first tack is called “Venoms Angel” and it starts off with a nice mellow acoustic intro followed by a really thrashy build up with the double bass drums leading you in to a classic heavy metal rhythm like the days of old. “Venoms Angel”was a great way to start off this album because the riffs are good enough to hook any young or old school metal head.
The title track “Reach for the Sky” is a little bit slower paced but really hit home and it took me a bit to figure out why. The guitars are on fire on this song with really broad sweeping solos and solid rhythms backing them up. I enjoyed this track a lot and it finally clicked why it sounded so good, “Reach for the Sky” is a song that could have been released on any number of classic Iron Maiden albums. It has that classic Maiden sound, the tones, the feel and the arrangement are all thee. (Notice I didn’t mention the vocals….keep reading)
My favorite track from this album is “You Got My Mind”. Akira Sugiuchi vocals are in the same vein as the late great Lemmy Killmister and the majority of this song has Motorhead’s finger print all over it. Akira sounds so close to Lemmy especially on this track it is ridiculous, and the drums have a real Phil “Philthy” Animal energy to them. If you took an average metal fan and played this song for them and asked the question “who is this” 9 out of 10 would probably say Motorhead, it is that good. This song also has a few unexpected time changes in it which once again have a real Maiden anthem feel to it.
SOLITUDE is a really solid metal band and “Reach for the Sky” is a well produced album. Listening to new music or albums can be hard at times for people like me; we all get stuck in our ways and tend to close our minds to anything new. But an album like “Reach for the Sky” has something so familiar about it your ears and brain forget you’re listening to something new. It has been a long time since I could sit and listen to a new album from an unfamiliar artist in its entirety and enjoy it, until now. Congratulations to SOLITUDE and their album “Reach for the Sky”, you have made it into my music rotation. Really good stuff guys! **Gene A. Gaona**