Solution .45 – “Nightmares In The Waking State – Part II”


Solution 45-IISolution .45 returns with Nightmare in the Waking State part II, sequel to Part I which came out in 2015.  As both were actually recorded at the same time, expect more progressive, melodic death metal from this Swedish supergroup.

Bands with the talent of Solution .45 don’t come around very often.  The Swedish band, which traces its roots back to 2007 first featured Christian Älvestam (Miseration, Torchbearer, Unmoored, ex-Scar Symmetry) and Jani Stefanovic (Miseration, Divinefire).  Those two brought in longtime collaborator/producer Thomas “Plec” Johansson and recorded some demos with a  sound that incorporated heavy riffs with melodic choruses and recorded their first album, For Aeons Past.  Stefanovic and Älvestam  brought in more talent  to complete the band including: Rolf Pilve (Stratovarius; drums), Tom Gardiner (Hateform; guitar), Anders Edlund (Angel Blake, Solar Dawn; bass and Patrik Gardberg (Ammotrack; guitar).  Looking to get a certain sound for Nightmares in the Waking State, part I, the band has brought in “Plec” Johansson for production and even recorded drums with Daniel Berstrand who worked with In Flames and Meshuggah to make sure they could get the sound they wanted.  Interestingly, the band had so many good songs, that they recorded Part I and II at the same time and spaced out the releases in order to allow fans to properly enjoy the material without being overwhelmed.

The atmospheric “Dim are the Pathways” opens up the album and presents a bit of an ominous tone through keyboards and sound effects.  By this point, I knew what to expect from the band after listening to Nightmares in the Waking State – Part I, so as the intro track was building, I knew the inevitable launch of melodic death metal was moments away.  Even with that, the beginning of “The Faint Pulse of Light” caught me by surprise with its fast, nearly galloping opening riff and Älvestam’s gritty, growling vocals.  Shades of the musician’s other bands abound throughout this album, so those familiar with them will hear some things that seem familiar but likely not in the expected context.  Production is just like on Nightmares…Part I, literally perfect with the instruments crisp and clear and mixed well with the vocals.  Guitar work on the album is at times subdued and at other times very much in-your-face and great solos are sprinkled around throughout the album.

Clean vocals make their first appearance on the next song “Mind Mutation” and much like on Nightmares…Part I, they provide a great contrast to the gritty death vocals without turning the songs into standard metalcore.  This song also provides an example of the power of arrangements with the atmospheric keyboards really coming into play and providing a much different feel to the song than if they would have been absent.  This is also one of the longer songs on the album and where the progressive elements first show, a theme that is continued in “Built on Sand”, which is also a song that features one of the most insane guitar openings I’ve heard in a while before it settles into a chunky groove and more of the clean vocals, which demonstrate Älvestam’s range as he goes from soaring clean vocals to the growling deep death vocals.  This was also the first song on the album where Rolf Pilve’s drumming really jumped out at me.  Keep in mind, that throughout the album, the drumming is solid and strong, but something about this song in general, really helps showcase his contributions.  As with every song on the album, Gardberg and Stefanovic’s  guitar work is simply amazing and the more times I listen to the album, the more I hear from them.

The rest of the songs on the album do provide some more variety as well, from the fast, heavy groove, clean vocals, and catchy chorus in “Inescapable Dream” to the slower “The Curse that Keeps on Giving” to the ominously calm then Miseration-like “Chain Connector”.  The album closes with “Heavy Lies the Crown” that will sound familiar to Miseration fans during the beginning riff, but then the song goes into a quieter, almost fragile mode with clean melodic vocals and atmospheric keyboards before the guitars come back in, bringing along the death vocals.  The way the song twists and turns from clean to death from heavy djent-like riffs to melodic metal to clean guitars/strings provides a great example of the complexity with the arrangements in these songs and showcases the talent in being able to pull this off.

As with  Nightmares in the Waking State – Part I, Solution .45 have set a very high bar for other bands to aim for.  Complex arrangements, incredible musicianship and vocals, and songs that can change from melodic to heavy without the transition feeling forced is what one can expect from Nightmares in the Waking State – Part II, and while I enjoyed Part I, I think they saved the best for last as Part II is just a little bit better.

Rating: 9/10

Written by John Jackson

Track list:
I. Dim Are The Pathways
II. The Faint Pulse Of Light
III. Mind Mutation
IV. Built On Sand
V. Inescapable Dream
VI. The Curse That Keeps On Giving
VII. Chain Connector
VIII. What Turns The Wheels
IX. Misery Mantra
X. Heavy Lies The Crown

Band Members:
Christian Älvestam – Vocals
Patrik Gardberg – Rhythm and lead guitar
Jani Stefanovic – Rhythm and lead guitar
Rolf Pilve – Drums

Record Label: AFM Records, Aug. 2016

“For Aeons Past” (2010)
“Nightmares in the Waking State, Pt. I,” (Nov. 2015) [review]

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Spotify

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video for ‘The Faint Pulse of Light’

Lyric Video for ‘Built on Sand’


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