The new In Solitude album “The World. The Flesh. The Devil.” is simply remarkable. Since I first heard it, I have been on nearly a non-stop In Solitude binge. I’ve listened to it from beginning to end somewhere in the neighborhood of five times a day. Whether I’m vacuuming, making dinner, or putting all of my issues of Boys’ Life magazine in alphabetical order, the album has been my constant companion. I had a plan to review it, but I feel like I have lost all degree of journalistic objectivity. The only way to truly get a fair assessment of this album is to turn it over to a stranger and see what they think.
This was not a simple task. I live in the American South and, for the most part, strangers are to be feared. I spent all day Thursday walking around the North Dekalb Mall in Atlanta asking people to sit with me for an hour listen to the record and answer some questions but was refused over and over again. I even had a woman threaten to get her husband and have him “give me a beating”. Six hours of rejection and nothing to show for it. I needed a new plan.
Friday, I went to the park near the local Senior Center. I immediately descended on a seemingly good natured woman sitting on a park bench who looked like she needed company and, more importantly, seemed like she’d have difficulty getting away quickly. I spent 10 minutes talking to her about her life and her allergy to penicillin. Her name was Ida Mae Thrasher. It was too perfect! This had to be the one! I made the offer, but this time I had figured out how to seal the deal. I offered her a 50-dollar gift card to the local Rite Aid. All she had to do was listen to the album and answer my questions. She tentatively agreed to do it and I quickly slapped a pair of headphones on her.
Our conversation after listening to the album went like this:
Keith: Well…what did you think?
Ida Mae: It was…..ummmmmmmm…..it was good.
Keith: Good??? Okay. Can you be more specific?
Ida Mae: It was very good.
Keith: Ida, can you please give me something with a little more detail? I’m trying to write an article here.
Ida Mae: Well, I liked the first song.
Keith: If you want the gift card, you are going to have to give me something more to work with.
Ida Mae: Well, it was kind of….well….loud.
Keith: Do you mean the volume? I could have turned it down.
Ida Mae: No, it was just….you know….loud.
Keith: (sounding somewhat offended) Listen Ida, loud is a term that applies to volume. Loud is not a valid description. It tells me nothing. Tell me something about the amazing guitar solos, tell me something about the raw production style, tell me that you like the interplay between the drummer and bassist, tell me you appreciate that they have taken early 80s sounding British metal and put a fresh and unique spin on it. What the heck does “it was loud” tell me!?!?!?!
Ida Mae: (appearing nervous)It was fine.
Ida Mae: Yes.
Keith: WHICH IS IT?!?!?
Ida Mae: Both.
Keith: You are avoiding the question! I’m seriously starting to question your commitment to heavy metal!!!!!
Ida Mae: You said I’d get a gift card if I listened to the album and answered your questions. Well, I did both. Please give me my Rite Aid gift card and just leave me alone.
Keith: There is no gift card! Not for you. Not with answers like that. You just totally wasted my time.
Ida Mae: HELP!!! Someone get this maniac away from me!!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!!
I had a lot of time to reflect on things while I was waiting for my wife to arrange bail. This experience taught me a lot. Some people just aren’t in a position to appreciate great music. I’m just going to have to live with the fact that the Ida Maes of the world will have to live their lives shrouded in a veil of musical ignorance. That doesn’t mean you have to. Buy as many copies as you can of “The World, The Flesh, The Devil”. Quit your job and do nothing but listen to it. Make your kids memorize the lyrics and if they don’t, refuse to let them watch television and send them to their rooms without dinner. It is really that good.
Check out Serpents Are Rising from “The World. The Flesh. The Devil.” here. The song is 160 percent amazing!