[Review] Solstice – Light Up

Solstice are an iconic band in the modern Progressive Rock scene, active since the very early 1980s. Several lineup changes over the years, and a top-notch musical quality with highly engaging live performances. The band’s seventh installment “Light Up” released on January 13, 2023 via GEP Records contains 6 tracks of that emphasize the band’s distinctive brand. The title track “Light Up” opens a pleasant instrumental section with the lead guitar and an elaborate structure. The singer’s sweet vocals passionately interpret the lyrics, with pleasant choral inserts and Andy’s lead guitar inserts always intense and technical. In the second part the song develops with an instrumental section that emphasizes another fundamental element of their sound: the violin, and then the vocal returns and closes. A deep, load-bearing bassline characterizes the structure of “Wongle No. 9” an elaborate track that enhances the individual technique of the band’s musicians. Excellent phrasing between the instruments, symphonic violin inserts over an energetic groove to which the vocals counterbalance. A track that incorporates Funky elements to Progressive, showing how the band has high-level ideas and a wide range of sounds to draw on. Valuable the duet of violin and keyboards in the central part, evolving in the second part in an intense guitar solo with virtuoso connotations. “Mount Ephraim” opens with violin and a structure with Folk Prog traits, enhanced by an energetic groove composed of solid, elaborate drumming and a killer bassline. The guitar intertwines with keyboards and the vocals offer engaging choral inserts, and then in the middle part interpret the lyrics with the usual delicate touch. The band’s characteristic sound is enhanced in this composition, Symphonic, elaborate and with to traditional music as only Solstice can do. A continuous musical crescendo ending with the opening theme and valuable interlacing between the instruments. More modern and dilated sounds characterize “Run” incorporating elements of Ambient and Electronic that accompany us for the first part of the track. In the second part the delicate touch remains and the intensity increases with the entry of acoustic drumming and pathos-laden guitar inserts, over a background of keyboards that gives body to the track. A melancholic and softer track, pleasant from beginning to end that manages to enter deep into the listener’s soul. “Home” brings the band’s classic sounds into a modern context, with delicate arpeggios and a very warm and expressive vocal. In a continuous crescendo, until incorporating in the middle part valuable violin melodies and a guitar solo in the instrumental section that characterizes the second part of the track. It ends intensely with an excellent ensemble sound that incorporates all elements of the band in unison. The longest track on the album “Bulbul Tarang” closes the listening, exceeding 10 minutes duration. An ethnic touch in the incipient arpeggios and a pathos-laden choral vocal intertwine perfectly with the track’s sweet melodies. After a sung part, in the middle section the band develops an instrumental section with the piano in evidence to which is connected a guitar solo with Andy’s unmistakable touch. The second part alternates between sung and instrumental parts with the lead guitar in evidence and then closes. A band that continues to come up with fine record releases, with a very intense album that brings the band’s sounds into a modern version. Symphonic, Folk traits and elaborate and technical passages alternate, with the singing parts always very warm and expressive. The instrumental parts are very intense and show excellent technique of all the musicians in the band. A recommended listen to all lovers of Prog sounds, showing how this band is with merit one of the main ones in the world Rock scene, a real masterpiece.


01. Light Up (5:39)
02. Wongle No. 9 (7:14)
03. Mount Ephraim (5:59)
04. Run (8:14)
05. Home (6:42)
06. Bulbul Tarang (10:24)


Andy Glass / Guitar, Vocals
Jenny Newman / Violin
Pete Hemsley / Drums
Jess Holland / Vocals
Robin Phillips / Bass
Steven McDaniel / Keyboards, Vocals

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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