Sister, the third album from young Swedish heavy metal band In Solitude, captures the group as they step out of the shadows of their fore bearers to stake a claim on their own patch of darkness. No longer can they be pegged as a Mercyful Fate tribute band. Their last album, 2011’s The World, the Flesh, the Devil, was such a successful channeling of the classic early work of those Danes that it was eerie to behold.
Review Summary: In Solitude signify the twilight of their idols.Metalheads tend to debate a lot about bands having a voice of their own or not. There are the so-called “elitists”, who are in exclusive pursuit of originality, saying that derivative bands should be cast to the fire, and there are those who fancy discovering outfits that bring yesterday to today. The said debate gets even more intense about outfits residing in the grey area, bands that revisit the days of old, but have a way of bringing something of their own to the table sooner or later.
When listeners discuss Sweden's In Solitude, comparisons to Mercyful Fate come up more often than not. (See, also, the less intersting Ghost B.C.) Metal orthodoxy places reverence of “gods” above innovation, but it's not difficult to see how the quintet are viewed as a tribute to what some still consider King Diamond's finest group. Guitarists Niklas Lindström and Henrik Palm are beholden to the inverted melodicism Hank Shermann and Michael Denner displayed on Mercyful Fate's two most revered albums, 1983's Melissa and 1984's Don't Break The Oath.
The third full-length from Swedish wizards In Solitude artfully combines the wailing, triumphant solos of NWOBHM with the smokier tones of occult rock. Sister slows the classic heavy metal pace down to a languorous groove, unravelling, rather than galloping forward. With clear nods to Mercyful Fate and Coven, and also saluting fellow Swedes Ghost, with their retro-metallic spook-rock, In Solitude explore their genre constraints, instead of attempting to explode or operate outside them.
After spending a couple of records in thrall to Mercyful Fate and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, occult metal quintet In Solitude takes a different road on its third LP Sister. What direction that is, exactly, seems still to be determined. Apparently hellbent (pun intended) on no longer sounding like King Diamond and co.’s greatest acolytes, the Swedish band folds strains of 70s hard rock, mournful doom and straight-up rock & roll into its anthemic devil metal stew.