Suffering in Solitude - A Place Apart (Domestic Genocide)

Post black metal, shoe-gaze meanderings...
Release Date: 
31 Dec 2013 - 12:30am

This full length debut from Suffering In Solitude has many similarities with a teenage romance; moments of extreme joy followed by moments of bitterness followed by confusion and a sense of loss - not that this release is in any way immature or juvenile. I admit that while I don't mind the whole post-rock, blackened shoe-gaze malarkey, I'm not a massive fan of the genre. For me it so often seems to lack direction, as if it's unsure of what it wants to be; ferocious black metal or flowery, poem-waving rock. It tries to be both and ends up being neither. Are we clear where I stand? Good.

A Place Apart, at times, seems to fall into this trap - the opener Inside Out starts out like a traditional rock tune: mellow, jangling chord work and melancholic lead guitar; it's quite beautiful but if you're expecting it to go all 'Satan, Satan' then you'd be wrong (and possibly let down). It's what some folk are calling shoe-gaze and it conjures images of the wind rippling fields of corn (yes, I know that's just me but anyways...). Then it finishes and Entrance kicks in. It's got a touch more grunt but is still very restrained. There's an odd juxtaposition between the faster paced drumming against the slower, distorted guitars - yes, I know this is an old trick to make things seems faster but it sticks out like dogs balls on here. Suddenly we're heading into almost (but not quite) traditional black metal - though it certainly isn't harsh and scratchy. It's not bad if you fancy listening to something that's heavy but not too heavy and the tune has an excellent groove to it. I'm certainly loving the drumming and percussion that Christopher A (who also does vocals and drums) is pimping here. 

Exit (Time Lost) is the first track with vocals and it's the epitome of post-rock, shoe-gaze bordering on black metal; the harsher elements are interspersed with mellower sections which makes the heavier parts seem all the more violent. It's alright. The croaking vocals are at the fore on Suffering In Solitude with Black Moor (bass) and Danny Arancibia (clean guitars/effects) both pulling out some fine work, and it's a dramatic, atmospheric piece. Again, I'm loving the drums.

I must admit that while the album is only 28 minutes long, it does feel longer; whether that's an insult or a compliment is wholly for the listener to decide. The last two tracks Distance (an ethereal, distorted number) and Placed Apart, which has the full on black metal raspy vocals against a slow, mellow backdrop complete the album. Without wishing to appear facetious, I'm reminded of Matchbox 20 meeting Tsjuder.