Solothus - Ritual Of The Horned Skull

Upon first reading the title of Solothus’s new release I was already thinking that this album was going to sound brutal. "Ritual Of The Horned Skull" sounds like the title to an old school horror film about a cult sacrificing women to appease a giant Stone Goat Statue that comes alive every so many years. Awesome album title aside Solothus is a Finnish Death Doom Metal band that combines the two heavy styles of metal together to achieve a truly earth crushing sound. The guitar riffs are slow thunderous low tuned pieces of doom that are accompanied by excellent rhythm drumming. This drummer helps create a solid musical backbone which flows at a sludgy grooving pace. Also, Solothus mixes Death Metal into their sound by using death growling vocals. I personally prefer Doom Metal with more clean operatic vocals that have a dark side. However, I understand the Death Metal vocals are used to make the song’s atmospheres very gloomy and morbid. Really the mix of Death Metal and Doom Metal gives the album a unique edge and adds to the overall heavy sound. I have heard the mix of Death and Doom before, but Solothus does a great job making their own style standout with an emphasis on extremely slow heavy riffs that are sung over by haunting death growls.

The first song a 'Call To War' is an intense track where the vocals are fiercely echoing over waves of guitar distortion and smashing drum cymbals. I like how the song changes tempo and adds variation when most bands just repeat the main riff for an extended period of time. Song two 'Throne Of Bones' is a loud track and the vocals are extremely hard to make out. Here I feel the combination of Death and Doom becomes a bit sloppy, but still the song allows for intense headbanging. The next song, 'Embrace The Cold', is my favorite song on this four song release. Hearing the opening riff reminded me of some of my other favorite Doom Metal bands, because the riff is grooving and in a way hypnotizing. Also, the bass tone is booming and each note is struck at the right moment. 'Darkness Gathers Here At Night' is the last song and ends the album off as it started... Heavy Slow Death Grooving music which needs more exposure!

Solothus knows how to make heavy atmospheric Death Doom Metal that makes the listener feel like the Grim Reaper is slowly wrapping his cold boney hands around them. "Ritual Of The Horned Skull" is a dark release which I recommend to all the Death Metal fans, Doom Metal fans, and any music fan that enjoys dark scary sounding music. I wouldn’t mind seeing these guys live because the music is loud enough to knock the audience over. Also, they might have a giant Horned Skull on stage... which they sacrifice annoying non-metal artists to at the end of the show. That would be worth paying to see live.


1. A Call To War (tape bonus track)
2. Throne Of Bones
3. Embrace The Cold
4. Darkness Gathers Here At Night