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Since dropping their initial demo When Silence Grows Venomous in 2012, Swedish death/doom duo Soliloquium have maintained an impressive schedule of releases. The band followed their demo with EPs in both 2013 and 2014, then again with their debut full-length An Empty Frame in 2016. Turning this time to multi-instrumentalist Mike Watts for percussion and atmospheric support, guitarist/vocalist Stefan Nordström and bassist Jonas Bergkvist are poised to unleash their second album Contemplations. Stream “Chains,” the record’s opening track, in our exclusive premiere below.

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Soliloquium nimbly guide the listener through a progression of moods that reveals the depth and sophistication of the band’s emotional intuition. As the song transitions past its initial plodding death march, the lead guitar takes on a somber and reflective countenance before the surging chorus commences. Here, an ascending melody conveys spirited triumph and resistance, its rising tones reflected in Nordström’s switch from the guttural depths to thinner shrieks and midrange howls.

Watts, handling production as well, positions the distorted vocals at the front of the mix and leaves them relatively naked. Every crevice in Nordström’s delivery is exposed, a bold assertion of his artistic identity. In contrast to those among his contemporaries who polish their voices into a featureless veneer with layering typically seen only on babies outdoors in winter, Nordström has given a refreshingly earnest performance rooted in sound technical fundamentals.

Navigating between extremes, the nine-minute odyssey of “Chains” is a delicate one, with subsequent sections reaching back to earlier themes for reference and closure. The song’s second chorus drifts into a meditative conclusion for which Mikko Heikkilä’s clean vocals emerge, his powerful voice now reborn as a fragile and vulnerable tenor, guiding the song to its end.

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Contemplations releases on June 1st via Transcending Records and is available to pre-order now. For more information on Soliloquium, drop by their website, which also features an impressively detailed section on marketing for musicians as well as an extensive guide to the death/doom genre.

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[Editor's Note: The original article misidentified the clean vocalist at the end of the track.]
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