Dark Fairytale

-- Solitude Within --

Marjolein Deduytschaever

Album genres:
Symphonic rock
Symphonic metal
Album artists:
Emmelie Arents Vocals & Keyboards
Jean-Paul "JP" Laffargue Guitar
Fré Delaey Bass
Hans Sarazyn Drums
Quincy Van Overmeire Guitar & Grunts

Review written by Marjolein “Mrs. Metal Shredder” Deduytschaever.

A little background

“When Kingdoms Fall” is the second album from the Belgian symphonic metal band Solitude Within released via their own record label called Boxfish Records and sent to us by Hard Life Promotion. Stijn Metal Shredder wrote a review of their debut album “Disappear,” check it out here: https://www.belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/72.

The songs themselves

“Beautifully Broken” the first song of “When Kingdoms Fall”, starts off with an orchestral intro (backed by the sounds of rain falling down) to then evolve into a snarling gothic and subtle symphonic metal song. Overall, an energetic opener to Solitude Within’s new full-length. The second tune is “Further Away” which is much more operatic and typically symphonic metal featuring clean vocals and more pronounced keyboards. The pre-chorus is very hypnotizing and was really stuck in my head even after one listening session. Both drums and bass are very prominent in the instrumental parts.

Following up with “When Kingdoms Fall”, the title track of this album and it kicks off with pounding drums and shredding guitars and provide this track with an intense feel. The song gives off a vibe as if you’re walking through the Kingdom of the Queen Hearts right before she’s going to shout “off with his/her head.”

The fourth song is called “I’m Not Lost” and could fit perfectly on an “Evanescence” album. The vocals are very clean and the guitars are more melodic. The instrumental part is more aggressive, to then proceed towards a slow part. After this slow part the song returns to the same melodies as how it started. “Over and Over”, the fifth tune of this wonderful release, has very snarling vocals and more intense guitars. The drums are set more on the background and carry the tune in that way. The vocals are very hypnotizing and suck you into the song.

Next up is “One Final Wish”. This track starts quite orchestral and evolves in a very clean symphonic rock track with rocking guitars and supporting drumbeats.The bass is a bit subdued in this track which I find a bit of a pity because a prominent bass can give a track like this a very special oomph. “Breathe” is once again a song with more snarling vocals and intense guitars. The difference here is that the drums are also very prominent in the sung parts of the song, in the instrumental parts the drums are more subdued.

“Land of Disarray,” this tune is the hardest one of this “When Kingdoms Fall” album with Quincy’s very well performed grunts contrasting nicely with Emmelie’s clean vocals. Yet underneath this heaviness there’s a strong melodic side that strings everything together. The following track is “Ice and Fire” and functions a way to mellow things down towards the end of the album. It’s a ballad with a lot of piano and slow drums but with explosive heavy metal intermissions, symbolizing the calmness of the ice and the fury of the fire respectively.

The penultimate song of “When Kingdoms Fall” is called “To the Grave” and is another symphonic metal ballad but this time with more raw power and grunts. This results into a nightmarish gothic ballad thanks to Emmelie’s echoing vocals and the sheer intensity of the song itself. The final tune is actually the oldest single of the release, “Astray,” which begins with choirs chanting and the guitars eventually taking over the frontstage. It’s a hypnotizing song and overall catchy and explosive finale to “When Kingdoms Fall.” Ending with a bang, always awesome!

My conclusion

Solitude Within’s “When Kingdoms Fall” is a release that will appeal to fans of Epica, modern Nightwish and Evanescence. It’s a very good album, definitely worth listening to and even more so, one to enjoy. This album is a lot heavier compared to the band’s “Disappear” debut because that was much more symphonic rock while this album is definitely symphonic metal. It still retains a lot of the first album’s ingredients but it’s nicely cranked up except for the bass which did get toned down significantly, this time functioning more as a mere supporting instrument. This release has a gothic fairytale feeling to it which suits perfectly for Halloween in 10 days. Or as a soundtrack while watching a typical Tim Burton gothic movie.

My score