Album Review: Solar Fake – Reasons To Kill

So, after having become a huge phenomenon in Germany with only two albums, Solar Fake strikes back with their third opus, Reasons To Kill. And however they reached the high popularity that is their own using roughly the same music recipe, Reasons to kill kind of sounds like an identity crisis.

First of all, the fans will rather quickly notice an attempt to become harder, rougher on the electronic sounds, on the vocals. Does that mean there are going to be less flustered girls at Solar Fake’s gigs and more sweaty bearded men? I must admit I doubt so. To start with, the real change remains in the music only, in the shape of things but not in the contents. For if Solar Fake hits harder on the sound, the resentful romantic lyrics are still more or less the same. but at least in the past, the music was fitting to the lyrics in most cases. Now we feel a bit lost. The electronic sounds are drier and harder indeed, the vocals rarely clear, yet the whole thing does not sound convincing. Is someone trying to become Aesthetic Perfection by any chance? 

In a way it is a shame. Bands that follows the set of rules “hard synthetic sounds/grunt dark vocals” are countless. Bands who keep their vocals clear and quite a melodic basis in their use of the keyboard? Not that many. If we do the maths quickly, we know there is quite a large amount of EBM bands. Among them, there is this almost unnoticeable part that has decided to go for clear vocals instead of true evil grunt vocals (no, I will not give names). And within this already rather small percentage, you can find the trivial amount of bands who are actually good EBM bands. Well it seems, Solar Fake has decided to distance themselves from this a little more. 

Not to worry however, on this album, there will be a little bit of everything, after all we want to satisfy most customers- ahem, fans. And the variety kicks in right at the first song, “I Hate You more than My Life”, with a little bit of Dubstep. Well yeah, Dubstep is THE cool thing right? No? Oh well. More seriously, I wonder what’s currently going on in the EBM scene, that everyone’s randomly getting into Dubstep. We had the painful experience with the Com/Kill album already (solo project of Diary of Dreams’ singer), and I’m sure I’m overlooking many other examples, probably for health reasons. And yet I don’t understand. Although I know the EBM scene is desperately trying to renew itself, and appear young and kewl and edgy again, I’m sorry but Dubstep was hype, say about three years ago. At that rate, I’m sincerely fearing the Disco revival. The second song “Face Me”, is… Wait, is that “Beloved”? A split with VNV Nation? After all why not, it could save the album. And… No it isn’t. Well it was worth a try, I suppose. Maybe. 

At mid-album, as we almost already gave up, “Rise and Fall” begins, and this definitely sounds familiar. It sounds just like… Solar Fake. Clear vocals, clever melodies, bittersweet chorus, we find our lost milestones again. Not all is gone. 

The following song “I’d Rather Break” is definitely Solar Fake as well, in the mesmerizing smooth electronics made one with the voice and the once more great chorus, this is definitely what we want. And it keeps on going like that, it goes higher and higher still. The next track “My Spaces” takes us completely by surprise as it becomes particularly overwhelming when the chorus starts. This is actually something new to them, a new song pattern that yet makes sense with their style, and that isn’t ridiculous. This works, this melts with their personality perfectly. 

One more surprise awaits us as we’re getting close to the end of the album, “One Step Closer”. What? Metal? Well, it seems so, yeah. And actually, it is not like it doesn’t work. Okay, they clearly lost it on that one, but the song is far from being bad. this mix of electronics and saturated guitars, although quite a classic recipe in industrial metal, is really fresh for them, and guess what, it feels good. After all, if they wanted some renewal with this album, it seems the bet is won. 

We could be reflecting on this album quite a lot, trying to understand where the intentions were, and what happened by accident. Unfortunately intentions did not always make it, just like the poor Dubstep attempt. – On this I need to specify I have nothing against Dubstep, but simply find unnatural that some bands would blindly throw themselves in this with no or little regard for the personality rape this is for their music. – Erm, so yeah, some intentions, even if initially good I suppose, did not happen to turn into the best decisions. Good things however happened on this album, within the novelties, and one can be hopeful for Solar Fake’s future if they decide to master the good new features of this album to include it to their style and therefore continue evolving in an interesting way. 

Review by Marie Lando.