DB HOF NO. 103
The making of Solitude Aeturnus’ “Beyond the Crimson Horizon”
For five Texans, timing’s always been a cruel, heartless bitch. But that didn’t stop Solitude from transforming under threat of legal action into Solitude Aeturnus, landing a record deal with Roadrunner on the strength of a single demo and issuing two critical full-lengths for the ascendant international thereafter. The problem was (and continues to be) few cared.
When Beyond the Crimson Horizon landed in the summer of ’92, metalheads weren’t particularly taken by soaring vocals, melody and doomed-out tempos from a label better known for its purveyance of top-end death metal. Sure, Vulgar Display of Power, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1, Meantime, Fear of the Dark and Countdown to Extinction were kings of mainstream metal’s castle. But in the dungeon—the so-called “underground”—Beyond the Crimson Horizon was no sales match for The End Complete, Legion or Utopia Banished. Even though Solitude Aeturnus’ influences were putting out accepted music, the Texans were on a proverbial island.
When I first heard Beyond the Crimson Horizon in my high school Earth Sciences class, it was immediately striking. Strikingly different. It had similarities to the Peaceville Three, but only superficially. There were bits of Metal Church, Testament, Savatage and others, too. Yet Solitude Aeturnus were unlike both forebears and contemporaries across the pond. They were raw, almost unhinged in places. Nevertheless, moored by the superiority of leadoff track “Seeds of the Desolate,” the brilliance of guitarists John Perez and Edgar Rivera—and, of course, frontman Rob Lowe’s stratospheric yet gritty vocals—I was hooked. They were a heavy calm in a death metal storm. So, slowly and surely, my duped copy of Beyond became my go-to between-classes gospel. Tracks like “The Hourglass,” “Plague of Procreation” and “The Final Sin” ensured Solitude Aeturnus continuous rotation.
From here on, Solitude Aeturnus will never return to despair. The Hall of Fame swings open its mighty doors for the unsung, unheralded and nearly forgotten greatness that is Beyond the Crimson Horizon. As they say in Texas, Solitude Aeturnus is “all cattle and no hat.” Or something like that.
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