Back in the mid-nineties Thrash had gone out of fashion, but Rich Sherrington had a dream to follow in the footsteps of his teenage heroes Xentrix, and in 1994 he formed his own band, Solitary. Four years later they released their debut album, and on the back of positive reviews from magazines like the mighty Terrorizer, they hit the road. There have been some changes over the years, but Sherrington is still at the helm, and the band are still proving that thrash metal is in their heart, and it seemed like a good idea to reissue the debut to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Bolstered with five demos from 1996, this doesn’t set out to be anything than it was ever meant to be, namely a back to basics cure for dandruff.
Although I have their last release, 2017’s ‘The Diseased Heart of Society’, this is the first time I have come across their debut, and it still sounds exciting, interesting and relevant all these years on. One thing that is interesting that often the solos aren’t at blistering speed, and sometimes the actual songs have more of a feel of thrash than the actual frenetic attack, but there is no denying the sheer leaden heaviness of the whole thing. The original thrash bands were heavily influenced by the NWOBHM, indeed Metallica covered quite a number of songs from that period, and for me this is classic Testament mixed in with some bands like Holocaust, Blitzkrieg and Witchfynde. Now the last of these had much more in common with the doom scene, but it is the heaviness that really makes this shine. There is little in the way of lightness or real variation in the material, and to really make this stand out I would have preferred a little light with the shade, but for a debut that was released on an independent label some 20 years ago it has stood up incredibly well indeed. I know I prefer playing this instead of anything Metallica has released in the same time period.