Solitary – ‘XXV’ EP review

Band: Solitary  
EP: XXV 
Release Date: 9th August, 2019
Label: Doc Records

 

 

Review by John

After giving their classic thrash style a huge polish on previous album ‘The Diseased Heart Of Society’, Preston thrash crew Solitary are back to celebrate their upcoming 25th anniversary in style.

As well as securing a coveted slot on the Sophie Lancaster stage at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air, the band have chosen to revisit some of their older tracks, and they are packaged here together with two live recordings.

Fans of the band will be familiar with the tracks on offer here, but may be surprised by just how much better the new versions sound (and they sounded damn good in the first place).

‘Requiem’, for a long time the closing song in the band’s live set, ‘Within Temptation’ and ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’ have been seemingly stripped down and rebuilt from the bottom up.

Clearer, punchier and heavier than ever, this is no mere vanity project. ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’ in particular is given a whole new dimension with the mix giving equal attention to all members of the band. Anyone who is used to the original will immediately note the extra level that Solitary have taken the song too, especially with regards the powerful assault from long term drummer Roy Miller.

In the case of ‘Within Temptation’, they have taken a song originally recorded 21 years ago and given it a makeover which leaves it sounding every bit as fresh as anything from their last album. Returning bassist Gaz Harrop is also given ample opportunity to shine here.

The live tracks come in the shape of two offerings from ‘The Diseased Heart Of Society’, with the title track from that album closing the EP, following on from ‘Architects Of Shame’, a powerful offering that touches on the difficult subject of the fall from grace of former national treasures in the wake of the Operation Yewtree scandal. Both tracks give a good insight into the bands live sound, and their inclusion also means that all three of Solitary’s studio albums are represented here.

Released just in time for their Bloodstock appearance and featuring artwork from the legendary Koot, this is a release that any self respecting thrash fan needs in their collection.

2019 is a year that sees releases from some of the biggest names in the 80s and 90s thrash scene, and the attention to detail shown here means that, with XXV, Solitary can stand proudly alongside them.

Here’s to the next 25 years.

9 out of 10

 

 

Track Listing:
1. Requiem
2. Within Temptation
3. Keep Your Enemies Closer
4. Architects Of Shame (Live)
5. The Diseased Heart Of Society (Live)