Soliloquium – Soulsearching

Soliloquium are a Stockholm duo who have been active for ten years and have released four full-lengths, including the recently released Soulsearching. Stefan Nordström is the core of the band, accompanied since the beginning by bassist Jonas Bergkvist, and his compositional work has produced results of good quality, allowing his musical creature to fit with ease in the large group of good bands that follow the leading names of melodic death doom. With this latest album Nordström tries to climb the positions using the weapon of of versatility: in fact, Soulsearching is not at all a predictable or obvious work, as the songs often show different faces from each other, favoring a certain unpredictability at the expense sometimes of homogeneity. As you can understand, this choice can turn out to be a double-edged sword, even if the positive results far outweigh the remaining perplexities; as a demonstration of Stefan’s intent to make the sound as varied as possible there is the use of a large number of guests, especially on the voice, whose contribution sometimes moves everything in a softer direction compared to what happens when the leader performs his strong growl. Admittedly, the tout court death metal performed in the first part of Finality is a bit disorienting, coming right after the intimate pair represented by Missing Pieces (sung by Stefan Zell of Wolverine) and the splendid Diaspora, even if it then dissolves into a more melodic and evocative direction in the finale; the example just given is the emblem of a record that the listener must approach knowing that the atmospheres can change suddenly, sometimes even within individual tracks as in the opener Floodgates, in particular. Even the title track, at the end of the album, tries to escape from a natural placement within the melodic death doom, because together with the masterful guitar contribution of Jari Lindholm (who is also involved in Soulsearching as a keyboard player and producer) we can appreciate more rarefied phases with the use of female voice. In short, the last full length of Soliloquium is appreciable both for the desire to deviate from the typical coordinates of the subgenre, and especially because the good result makes this choice shareable, although it’s not obvious that everyone will think the same way about it.

2022 – Naturmacht Productions / Rain Without End Records