Do you know that feeling you get when you hear an album that just absolutely exceeds your expectations? That happens to me a couple times per year, and it’s always completely out of nowhere. Sollar’s debut is an excellent example of this phenomenon, even causing me to push back the other reviews I was writing. The debut album is called “Translucent”, and it released on the 25th of January through Raising Legends Records.
The band hails from Portugal. The members are Mariana Azevedo on vocals, Vitor Braga and André Ribeiro on guitars, Eduardo Sinatra on drums, and Diogo Vidinha on bass. This band exudes pure rock n’ roll while also being metal at heart.
The musical genre here is progressive metal, though it may sound different than you expect. The riffs are lumbering and dark, and many of the songs proceed at a breakneck pace, though you will hear a significant amount of melody at all times. I would say there is a bit of hair metal influence in the guitar work, especially. At the center of this album, though, is fantastic songwriting, so while the music might not be anything particularly novel, the album embraces what it is and is all the better for it.
I need to talk about two of the performers individually. While all of the band members hold their own with ease, the vocals and drums are really something special. For the drums, Eduardo provides stunning fills and inventive beats that elevate everything around him. He doesn’t really resort to the typical double blast beats of many other metal bands, but injects energy and power through his creativity and speed. He honestly reminds me of Bobby Jarzombek of Fates Warning. Similar to Bobby, Eduardo uses subtle and nimble blast beats to fill the background and to execute transitions perfectly.
Mariana has an interesting voice, as you will notice immediately. It’s in the lower range, like that of Elizabeth Vásquez (Six Magics) or Tanja Magolei-Schüpper (Blacklands), and so she is able to stand strongly against the tide of riffs and beats. For some reason, she reminds me specifically of various 90s and early 00s alternative rock/metal singers. On various songs, she reminds me of different singers. It’s a strange takeaway for me because I can usually pinpoint this sort of thing. It is also a testament to her talent as her voice is groovy in the way she makes transitions and holds notes, and she just has that soul to her voice that reminds me of some vocalist legends. This album would definitely not be the same without her.
As a whole, “Translucent” simply rocks. It is just a fun listen, and sometimes that is really all you need. Every song seems to have interesting technical moments or a grand chorus, and so every song has something special. Songs like the dark “Birth”, the catchy “The Fighter” (bit of a hair metal vibe, too), or the intimate “Primal” all have pure and catchy choruses, and so you definitely will be singing along with them.
My favorite tracks are a bit deeper than just an infectious chorus. “Naked” is slow-burning track, but really turns into something special. I love the fantastically dynamic drumming near the end. “Royal Flush” has one of the best choruses on the album, and there’s just something quirky about it that stands tall. The title track begins with a burgeoning riff that explodes suddenly. The chorus really reminds me of early 00s alternative metal, and I love the melody that comes in near the end. “Outburst”, contrary to its name, is a ballad. The titular outburst is more one of emotion than of music, and I love it. The chorus is the best on the album, and it might be my favorite song, as well.
Sollar has an excellent album on their hands. It feels good to hear it, and it doesn’t last longer than it should. In fact, I don’t think there is a single moment of filler here. “Translucent” should make waves in the prog metal scene this year, if there is any justice in this world.
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