Originally posted on Instagram on October 2, 2021
Album recommendation: ‘Songs of Loss and Separation’ by Times of Grace
‘Songs of Loss and Separation’ (SOLAS) is one of my favorite releases from this year. I wanted to do an in-depth video review on it, but I haven’t had the time recently. I figured this was the next best thing.
After 10 years, Times of Grace finally released their sophomore album, SOLAS. When Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz began writing music that he felt didn’t fit into the KSE mold, he started the band with the help of vocalist Jesse Leach (also of Killswitch Engage). Drummer Dan Gluszak now rounds out the band with this release.
This album introduced me to Times of Grace and it came just at the right time. What I appreciate most about SOLAS is that it doesn’t try to be more than what it is. It often feels like there’s a constant competition in modern metal to be faster, heavier, weirder, or more technical than every other band. Rather, Times of Grace feels comfortable in their own skin. Instead of rushing from part to part, the songs on SOLAS take their time, organically unfolding like a well-written story.
The overall sound of SOLAS could be described as melancholic or solemn. The southern rock riffs from “The Burden of Belief,” post-rock ambience in “Forever,” and fierce heavy metal chugs in “Medusa” all create a unique sonic atmosphere. Leach’s vocals especially stand out, from tearful singing to raw screams. I especially appreciated the addition of spoken word in tracks like “Far From Heavenless” and “Medusa.” Those passages felt fresh and heightened the emotional intensity of the entire album.
Lyrically, SOLAS covers a myriad of deep topics. “Mend You” is an honest cry of devotion in a broken relationship while “Far From Heavenless” condemns spiritual/religious hypocrisy. The lyrics are carefully crafted poems that are both stunning yet never betray the message of each track.
I very much appreciated the change of pace that SOLAS has brought to the rock/metal scene this year. I hope that Times of Grace continues to make music as heartfelt and captivating as this album. Expect to see it in my 2021 Top 10 list at the end of the year!