Nibiru Ordeal is a Finnish power metal outfit that since its inception in 2006 has pretty much stuck with it, but making no noise until the latter half of the current decade. Releasing an EP and a few singles in a couple of years time was building up to this, the release of their behemoth size full length, Solar Eclipse. Even before the closing two tracks, which clock in at 13 and 14 minutes respectively, the album is a good sized 53 minutes, making for a total of a whopping 80 minute runtime. Obviously you need to head into it knowing you have the time to give, or give up right now because there’s no in between. A big part of that is because the album includes the entire back discography, which perhaps isn’t too extensive, but to toss in the entire 5 song EP Spacebeast (2015) makes little to no sense.
Musically, this is some hefty, punch packing melodic power metal straight out of the Finnish school, with slight progressive builds and elements. Massive drums and double beats cover heavy ground, with cool riffing sprinkling grit and weight over the dish. Enter Pekka Laitinen’s keyboards; prominent, leading and big sounding, they add the cosmic feel and dramatic overtones to the music, and the most prominent melodic lead on the album. Prominent bass lines get their groove on, dancing little dances alongside the melodic guitars and keyboards in fresh sounding tracks like Demons & Angels and Manual to Life, and all throughout are strewn delicious little solo battles between Laitinen and guitarist Mirko Byman. Vocalist Andi Kravljača (Aeon Zen, Thaurorod, ex- Seventh Wonder) gives great performances throughout the album, especially opener Gone With the Wind sees his harder edge expertly blended with a softer side.
A big focal point of the album is its closing half hour, consisting of two songs (and their short intro); Vortex of the Dead Galaxies and the title track; Solar Eclipse. Together these two songs rival the most inspired stuff of Dream Theater. Plenty of intricate instrumental passages break off and stand out from the remainder of the album, the progressive time structures come to a climax and the songwriting is some of the best. The problem is that at this point the album should be over already, and it’s hard to remain interested. Even though there are some highlights strewn throughout, and some head bobbing moments where the guys let the stellar songwriting come through, they are few and far in between, and so while there’s plenty of interesting material on the album, it’s far from enough to warrant the runtime. The talent is there, but Solar Eclipse is just too much to be fully enjoyable, though certain picks will definitely warrant a few replays.
Standout tracks: Gone With the Wind, Demons & Angels, Solar Eclipse