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Solution .45, in some circles, is considered a super group, comprised of amazing artists from highly regarded bands such as Meshuggah and Scar Symmetry. The incredible voice talent of Christian Älvestam returns along with the awesome talents of Patrik Gardberg and Jani Stefanovic on guitars, while Rolf Pilve mans the drums. With Pilve currently touring with the band, this album was recorded in 2014 with Daniel Bergstrand (of Meshuggah fame) on behind the kit.

‘Nightmares in the Waking State Part II’ comes to us as not exactly a new album, but more of a continuation of 2015’s ‘Nightmares Part I’. ‘Part I’ brought to us a solid melodic outing from Solution .45 that, while a powerful record, seemed to lack the same depth that their prior work achieved. It was almost as if ‘Nightmares’ was half of a record. Well, that’s because it was. Both Part’s I & II were recorded at the same time, and rather than making one super long album, Solution .45 decided to release each half as separate releases in back to back years. ‘Part II’ comes off as more a complete production that picks up with the cliffhanger left by ‘Part I’.

It isn’t that anyone should consider ‘Nightmares in the Waking State Part I’ a low quality release, but Parts’ I & II together are so much more enjoyable as a completed story. ‘Part I’ had portions that were seemingly more focused on modern metal, whereas this time around Solution .45 gives us a more melodic sound and progression that we’ve come to know and love. Älvestam’s trademark gutturals and pop-yet-soulful clean vocals (with quite a bit of diversity) carry this release to another realm not heard since the waning days of his time with Scar Symmetry. The choruses found here are his standard blueprint, with driving-to-the-point riffs and excellent peaks of catchy vocals.

With this pummeling and intensely melodic release, you have no filler tracks (other than the cinema-like intro), with songs like ‘Mind Mutation’, ‘Chain Connector’, and ‘What Turns the Wheels’ that are cyber tanks that crush you into submission, counterbalanced by ballads, more melodic or progressive songs like ‘Built on Sand’, ‘Inescapable Dream’, or ‘The Curse that Keeps on Giving’. As far as consistently delivering top tier tracks one after another, this release really hits home with wonderful transitions and works even better when listened to alongside the 2015 release.

If you felt even a little like ‘Nightmares Part I’ didn’t reach its true potential, please give the entirety of Parts I & II, as one gigantic release, another shot. There is marvelous balance to the edginess found in modern pop-metal and melodic depth found in progressive-power metal which delivers a truly unique sound that should not be missed! Definitely recommend, you pick this up.
AFM Records
Review by Joshua Jaeger
26th August 2016
1) Dim are the Pathways
2) The Faint Pulse of Light
3) Mind Mutation
4) Built on Sand
5) Inescapable Dream
6) The Curse that Keeps On Giving
7) Chain Connector
8) What Turns the Wheels
9) Misery Mantra
10) Heavy Lies the Crown
"With this pummeling and intensely melodic release, you have no filler tracks..."