By JAY ROBERTS
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
MELIAH RAGE – SOLITARY SOLITUDE (1990)
When I wrote about Meliah Rage’s debut album Kill To Survive a couple weeks ago, I was immediately taken with the album. I got into the music from the first song’s intro and kept being drawn back with each successive track.
In the case of Solitary Solitude, I found that a little more work was required for me to have a really good grasp on what I thought about the album.
This was the band’s second studio album but it was actuallly their third release following the 1989 EP Live Kill. It starts out with the title track and while I was pretty impressed with how the music sounded for the song, I had some trouble getting into the vocal take from singer Mike Munro. I’m not quite able to put my finger on why the vocals initially felt off to me, but it is definitely a failing on my part. I say that because after a few plays of the album, the song does grow on you and the vocals do blend in rather seamlessly with the music.
The album’s second track is “No Mind” and that one was just a killer track. Fast and powerfully thrashing about, there was no holding back on how much I loved the track at all.
While all bands are almost assuredly hoping that their music stands the passage of time, I can’t think they expect individual songs to be so completely relevant three decades later. Since 2020 is the 30th anniversary of Solitary Solitude, I think even Meliah Rage would be surprised that the lyrical content of “Decline Of Rule” would be so powerfully connected by what is going on in the world today. The song is still chock fully of thrash metal goodness but there’s also a notable methodical feel to the music at the same time. A lot of the credit for how good the album sounds has to be credited to the guitar work from both Anthony Nichols and Jim Koury.
The final song on the first side of the album is “Deliver Me” and it is an outlier of sorts given the makeup of the rest of the material on the album. This track is pretty slow moving with a sparse musical soundtrack. The somewhat understated feel to the song made it quite intriguing to me.
The second side of the album starts off with the spectacular song “The Witching”. I found it to be more of a straight forward heavy metal song as opposed to more of thrashing neckbreaking tour-de-force. Replete with lyrics that seem straight out of horror movie, this was the song that the band made a video for in order to promote the album.
I wasn’t crazy about the first part of the album’s closing song “Razor Ribbon”, there’s some spoken word set up in the intro and then the lyrics are kind of whispered until FINALLY, the song breaks out in a more frenetic explosion. The second half of the song is really great but it has to work pretty hard to overcome the first part which made me want to hit the fast forward button on my player.
Still, songs like the anti-drug rant of “Lost Life” and the burning metallic rhythms of “Swallow Your Soul” (which features a pretty strong and enveloping lyrical chorus) help tilt the balance of the album towards the positive side of the ledger.
While I had to work a little harder with this one, overall I think Solitary Solitude is a damn good follow up to the band’s debut album. It had a couple of bumps in the road but I still loved hearing the album for the first time. And while I don’t have any more cassettes from the band to write future articles about, I am going to track down the rest of their albums on CD because I find myself becoming quickly enamored with the music of Boston’s own Meliah Rage!
NOTE OF INTEREST: Solitary Solitude was co-produced by Meliah Rage, Tony Moussali and Tom Soares. Tom Soares worked as either a producer, mixer or engineer with other bands such as Pro-Pain, Scatterbrain, Merauder and Wargasm.