In Solitude: In Solitude

Occult Scandic torchbearers bring their debut back to life

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Although this eponymous debut was little-noticed when it emerged on limited vinyl in 2008, In Solitude have gone on to become one of the most important underground metal bands of the 21st century, instrumental in reviving the fortunes of occult trad HM among an audience who were in nappies when Mercyful Fate were staging their 90s comeback.

The Danish pioneers are famously In Solitude’s most crucial touchstone, working that same blend of cartoonish headbanging joy and dark, blazing theatrics – albeit without the magic and genius of King and co’s early work, and with a more archetypal mid-80s metal thrust.

Tunes like Kathedral and Beyond Is Where I Learn are skilful, focused, exuberant recreations of arcane 30-year-old aesthetics by earnest Swedish teens, and while the vocals and riffs aren’t terribly accomplished, the soloing is tasteful, the twin harmonies have an irresistible surge, and the quintet’s reverential enthusiasm is warmly infectious.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.