Purest of Pain – The Solipsis on Sick Records
Release Date – March 1st, 2018
Band Photo by Sacha Wolf
This album is an interesting one for me to review. For the most part I listen to symphonic, power, or 80s metal. I am not a big fan of growling vocals overall. This album is best described as melodic death metal with Scandinavian influences. A lot of the symphonic bands with female lead singers are accompanied by some growling vocals on certain songs and I do like that. I am also a big fan of Henrik’s growling vocals from Amaranthe, but of course he is just one part of the three-headed vocal monster that is Amaranthe. Lately though I have been listening to more of this type of metal. I currently listen to the recent releases by Arch Enemy and Once Human, and enjoy them quite a lot.
For those who do not know, Purest of Pain is the brainchild of Delain / MaYaN guitarist Merel Bechtold. She has been working on this album off and on for about seven years. During that process it has had its ups and downs, but she was hell-bent to get this album done and released. I think after spending so much time working on one album you are definitely going to have some great material and this is the case here. They have also decided to self-release this album on their own label Sick Records, so this is Purest of Pain’s project through and through. I also love the art work on the album which was Merel’s idea, but the actual artwork was created perfectly by bassist Frank van Leeuwen.
The first single off the album is “Terra Nil” which features Sam C. A. This song is a six-minute epic which is also the longest song on the album. There is so much going on in this song it is a festival for the ears. I really like the unique music that is going on during some of the vocals. There is all sorts of guitar riffs and sounds that make it very interesting to listen to. In the middle part of the song there is a long instrumental section that is very well composed. It definitely has its own unique sound and feel to it. After that the song really picks up pace and has a real in your face feeling leading into a well done guitar solo by Merel. The song slowly fades out as the music continues to consume you. This song is definitely worthy of being the first single. You can listen to the song below.
The next song I would like to highlight is “Vessels“. This song is a lot more straightforward melodic death metal, but you still have the guitar riffs in the background during the vocals that keeps it interesting. We also have another great guitar solo by Merel in this song. Anyone who reads my reviews knows my feeling that guitar solos are a MUST in metal songs! In this song as well as “Terra Nil” you can really hear when J.D. Kaye kicks his growling vocals into a higher pitch. I love it when he does this and it really makes his vocals stand out. Later in the song we get another guitar solo and you can never have too many guitar solos! This song is not even three minutes long, but feels much longer when you listen to it because it is done so well.
Another great song on this album is “Truth Seeker” Amazingly this song is just over two minutes long. There are about as many instrumentals in this song as there are vocals. From the second this song starts it just tears through you all the way to the end. Once again the instrumental parts of this song are just amazing. I do not quite know how to describe the atmosphere of this album, but you really feel it here. The sound is harsh, but very easy and enjoyable to listen to. This whole song feels like a blitzkrieg and is very unique since it is so short, but I love an album that is willing to take chances like this and it pays off here.
“Crown of Worms” is a song that also stands out on this album. My favorite part of this song is the blazing guitar solos. There is also one hell of an epic growl in this song from J.D. Kaye. I should also mention the great drumming through the whole album by Joey de Boer. I think in death metal it is imperative to have a very good drummer to keep that crazy beat going and Joey nails it on this album. What we have here is another pretty straightforward melodic death metal song, but it just sounds great. The whole song is done well and is great to listen to.
The last song I am going to touch on is “E.M.D.R“. This song is very interesting and was written by guitarist Michael van Eck. In parts it sounds like a basic metal song. I even hear a little of what some of the 80s pioneers in thrash metal sounded like a little bit. The song in parts has a crazy beat to it, that leads to another solid guitar solo. This song to me is very unique to the album, but sill works with the overall flow. I even feel some Iron Maiden in spots here. It is really a great song all-around and one I really enjoy listening to.
I do not like to write about every song on an album as I like to leave some surprise for someone the first time they listen to it. All I can say is this is another step forward for me to really enjoying melodic death metal. Musically this album is fantastic. Merel’s work on putting together the arrangements and the high quality of the recordings is impressive. J.D. Kaye’s vocals even though done in the growling style, still have some range and a different variance in his voice to keep it very engaging. I was not sure what to think being a Delain fan, what it would be like to hear Merel with her melodic death metal band. It ends up being a great ride and a great album to listen to. I highly recommend picking this album up and giving it a listen. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and find you have purchased one hell of a good album.
Review Score 4.5 / 5.0
One other quick note. Purest of Pain has an Indiegogo Campaign that runs through January 20th. There are a lot of unique and autographed items there for purchase. Do not miss your chance to place an order before the campaign is over. The Indiegogo campaign can be found here.
1. The Pragmatic
4. Crown of Worms
6. The Sleep of Reason
8. Trial & Error
9. Terra Nil
12. Phantom Limb
13. The Solopsist
J.D. Kaye (vocals),
Merel Bechtold (guitar)
Michael van Eck (guitar)
Frank van Leeuwen (bass)
Joey de Boer (drums)