With this album SOLSTICE have developed into a significantly innovative force in Doom Metal. They have never been a generic band and 'New Dark Age' was not only in 1998 an innovative album. One of the reasons was the new line-up, because the new vocalist Morris Ingram did own a unique voice, which seems to be made only for SOLSTICE. The next new musician was drummer Rick Budby, and his varied and precise style did add a tremendous dynamic to the band's mighty sound. In comparison with the first full-length 'Lamentations' the group integrated here more Power Metal elements as they did it on 'Halcycon', and it's no surprise that this combination works extremely good. Rich Walker focused his attention on sheer power, peeling off riff after weighty riff that reduced everything in front of it to rubble. But apart of all this heaviness it wouldn't be a SOLSTICE album without mellow songs like 'The Anguine Rose', or 'The Keep'. Once again it's the variety between skull crushing tracks and more reflective songs which make 'New Dark Age' to a masterpiece.
Usually the term 'concept album' is associated with boring 70's artrock albums, but it can be also meant in a more positive way. SOLSTICE showed the world that you can record and arrange an Epic Doom Metal album in a conceptual way, without being cheesy or boring for a minute. While the previous releases do remind the listener mostly to early Solitude Aeturnus (what can be seen as a huge compliment!), 'New Dark Age' is an album from a band which carved out their very own identity. This re-issue contains the same bonus tracks like the double vinyl-edition, which has been released by Metal Supremacy. It's a cover of 'Stormchild' from NWOBHM-legend Trespass and a brilliant version of Iron Maiden's 'The Prophecy', which has been taken from the Meteor City tribute 'Slave To The Power'. Like the other SOLSTICE re-releases, the new edition include all lyrics and once again, Russ Smith liner-notes are profound and entertaining. Cylone Empire did a great job, and I hope that new Doom Metal fans will now discover this masterpiece!