the-pit.de, 15.02.2012 – Rating 8 of 10

Eine melodiöse, ständig energievolle Reise durch die Phantasie-Welten

Wie eine kleine Kampfansage mutet gleich der erste Satz im Promoschreiben an: „Power Metal ist tot, es lebe der Power Metal.“ Fans dieser Spielart müssen sich natürlich immer wieder gefallen lassen, einem Genre zu lauschen, welches wenig innovativ die Grenzen auslotet. Doch auch hier kann man ein kämpferisches „Warum auch“ in die Diskussion einwerfen, denn ein Rad muss nicht immer zum x-ten Male neu erfunden werden, Spaß soll die Mucke machen. Die Dortmunder Power Metaller Solar Fragment wollen auf ihrem nun zweiten Longplayer „In Our Hands“ (zuvor gab es 2005 eine Drei-Track-Promo und das „A Spark Of Deity“-Debut von 2007) dem Musikbusiness ein paar weitere lebendige Farbtupfer auftragen.

Da sie in der Vergangenheit mehr als einmal mit den blinden Wächtern aus Krefeld verglichen wurden, treten die Jungs ohrenscheinlich die Flucht nach vorne an und präsentieren mit Hansi Kürsch von eben jenen Blind Guardian einen prominenten Gastsänger. SF-Frontmann Robert hatte ja auch schon in der Vergangenheit durch ein Duett mit der Dawn Of Destiny-Ex Tanja Maul punkten können, und auch bei „Inside The Circle“ harmonieren die beiden Frontdominanzen so gut, dass man hierfür glatt die Höchstnoten ziehen muss. Natürlich, eine gewisse Nähe zwischen der Machart der Krefelder und der Solar Fragmentoren ist natürlich gegeben, kommt aber ohne episch-klebriges Pathos-Keyboard-Geschwurbel aus, es ist einfach ganz großes Kino, wie sich die beiden die Vocallines zuwerfen.

Einen Schulterschluss mit dem eigenen Debut „A Spark Of Deity“ legen Solar Fragment mit dem Opener „In Our Hands“ hin, wenn es gleich in der ersten Zeile „The spark of deity ignites in our hands“ heißt – die Dortmunder verfeinern also gleich dort weiter, wo sie 2007 aufgehört haben – Double-Bass-Power trifft auf harte metallische Riffs, und vor allem können auch sie sich offenbar scheinbar locker einen extrem mitsingbaren Refrain aus dem Ärmel schütteln, was bei dieser Art der Musik immer wieder so wichtig ist. Schade nur, dass sie im Mittelteil ein wenig zu sehr das Tempo verschleppen, so wird es zwar ein wenig abwechslungsreicher, Solar Fragment opfern aber so ein Stück weit die powervolle Eingängigkeit.

Ihre Texte siedeln sie im Fantasy-Bereich an, und greifen sie mit dem Opener schon die „Fragment Of The Sun“-Story weiter auf, so legen sie mit „Once Again“ in diesem Bereich nochmals nach, glänzen auch hier mit sehr differenzierter Gitarrenarbeit zwischen Power und Eingängigkeit, packen gleich ein ganzes feuriges Bündel an Melodien hinein und beweisen auch hier mit dem Refrain, dass sie genau dafür das richtige Gespür haben.

Was bei den Ruhrpott-Power-Metallern besonders positiv ins Gehör fällt ist auch der Verzicht jeglicher Keyboards, auch bei dem balladesk startenden „Race The Seas“ – ein Stück, bei dem man gerade Saschas Drumming herausstellen sollte, schafft er es doch immer wieder, mit unaufdringlichen progressiven Versatzstücken den Songs einen einen eigenen Stempel aufzudrücken, stellt sich dabei aber wie auch bei „Race The Seas“ komplett in den Dienst der Band und verzichtet auf Egotrips – die Gitarrenfront schließt sich dem übrigens ebenfalls an, Teamwork ist hier ganz groß geschrieben.

Während thematisch „Come Hell Or High Water” mit dem Pirateninhalt eher zu den rennenden Wilden aus Hamburg passen würden, sind auch hier musikalisch Parallelen zu den Krefeldern Blind Guardian auszumachen. Auch „Moana’s Return“ hat den einen gemeinsamen Ursprung, doch Solar Fragment setzen hier „Pans Labyrinth“ mit druckvoller Power und epischer Melodie herrliche Akzente.

Was hat sich bei Solar Fragment gegenüber dem Debut verändert? Sicher, ein Übersong und ein unbedingtes Live-Muss wie „Take Me Higher“ vom Debut schreibt man nicht alles Tage, doch die Dortmunder haben es auf vorliegendem Werk „In Our Hands“ locker geschafft, die Messlatte noch ein Stückchen mehr nach oben zu hieven – eine melodiöse, ständig energievolle Reise durch die Phantasie-Welten von Literatur und eigenen Kopfkinos. Sie haben es tatsächlich in der eigenen Hand, zu den ganz Großen des Genres aufzuschließen, denn auch live haben sie sich immer mehr herausgeputzt, vor allem Sänger Robert ist sich seiner Stärke immer mehr bewusst und gib so Solar Fragment eine kaum mehr wegzudenkende Identität. Wenn es Solar Fragment jetzt noch schaffen, die blinden Wächter abzuschütteln, dann dürfte auch endlich der verdiente internationale Erfolg winken, denn national gehören sie mit „In Our Hands“ schon zu den Großen.

Jörg Müller the-pit.de

Posted in In Our Hands - Reviews, Reviews | Comments Off on the-pit.de, 15.02.2012 – Rating 8 of 10

See us live on 03.02. in Bottrop – Vote for us on WDR!

See us live on February 3rd! Come and join us at the “A Chance For Metal” Event in Bottrop:
Cage Club
Hohestr. 12
46236 Bottrop

Doors are opening at 7pm, the Bands S.T.A.R. and Dragonsfire will join us for some metal tunes, and it’s just 5 euro (it’s worth it!!)

And guess what, Solar Fragment goes on air! We will be part of the “Musikszene NRW” Radio Show on WDR2 which will play our song “Moana’s Return”! After that show you will have the chance to vote for us! so go ahead and give metal a chance! The voting can be found from Feb 8th to 14th at the wdr website

Posted in News | Comments Off on See us live on 03.02. in Bottrop – Vote for us on WDR!

Added some new photos taken last weekend!

Metalheads, we’ve added two brand new galleries to our live section! Please find some very nice pictures taken by Daniel Horlbogen (live-frenzy.de) at our Redemption-Support Show and some excellent stuff taken by Sebastian Steinfort (be-subjective.de) at our gig at the Boersencrash Festival! Thanks to everybody, it was a great weekend!!

Posted in News | Comments Off on Added some new photos taken last weekend!

Brand New Merchandise!


Hey Folks! Yes! It’s true! There have been rumors we put out some new Merchandise this year, and here we go! We got some brand new Shirts for you, available as Hoodie, T-Shirt and, BRANDNEW! as Tank Top! Feel free to check out our SHOP

We also created Shirt+CD Bundle like we did with the Spark Of Deity! Go and grab the shiny new stuff!

Posted in News | Comments Off on Brand New Merchandise!

Making of Photoshooting online // Open Air this Weekend!

Hey folks, how’s it going?! Watch our new Making Of video and see how we did the promotional photos for “In Our Hands”.

Making of: Solar Fragment Promo Photos 2011

AND we are back on stage this weekend! Open AIR in Hattingen! Stagetime is 20:00, feel free to enjoy some power metal AT NO COST!
You can find a map of Hattingen HERE

Posted in News | Comments Off on Making of Photoshooting online // Open Air this Weekend!

This Weekend: 18.06.2011 B.O.M. Festival!

It’s time to get our asses back on stage. This Saturday’s B.O.M. Festival in Langerwehe will surely rock you! We are double headlining the festival together with our friends in Dawn Of Destiny. Screaming Souls and Long Kiss Goodbye will help us to build a piece of metal.

Good news: The show is free of charge AND we are back with the whole damn crew, Marc has recovered from his injury!

So come and join us:

Saal Behrendt
Eifelstr. 36
52379 Langerwehe/Schlich

Date: 18.06.2011
Starting at: 20:00

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off on This Weekend: 18.06.2011 B.O.M. Festival!

Rage Against Racism canceled

Today we received a call that the Rage Against Racism Festival in Duisburg was completely canceled due to city’s restrictions.
We are sorry that such an event has to be canceled, but we hope to see you there next year!

Posted in News | Comments Off on Rage Against Racism canceled

skullsnbones.com, 13.05.2011 – Rating 5 of 5

To me, one of the best feelings in the world is when you buy an album by a band you haven’t heard of before…whether it’s because you like the album cover or you think the name of the band is cool…and the album turns out to be FUCKING AWESOME!! I can’t really say I’ve felt this way about a lot of albums since the last time I actually walked into a record store to buy a CD (iTunes kills surprises). So now I can only remember a few of the bands/albums with which I’ve experienced this feeling: CHILDREN OF BODOM/ Something Wild, WINTERSUN/Wintersun, BECOMING THE ARCHETYPE/Terminate Damnation, and now; SOLAR FRAMENT/In our hands (April 2011/Scarlet Records).

Let me just say right off the bat, this album has been in my regular rotation since the first time I listened to it. In our hands is probably one of the best albums I’ve heard in the past year and one of the best of its genre I’ve ever heard. On that point, it may not be for those who are strictly into technical death or genres with a “-core” suffix. SOLAR FRAGMENT are big on melody and harmony with songs that are structured along a classic metal type of format. Fans of just about any type of traditional metal will appreciate the modern approach of this band.

I’m a little unsure as to whether I would classify SOLAR FRAGMENT as “power metal”, “folk-metal” or “boat-metal”. Probably a blending of the three would be most accurate. The vocal style is definitely more “power metal” while the instrumental arrangements incorporate a lot of classic metal as well as Irish folk themes and musical phrasings that are becoming more common with European bands these days. Whatever you want to call it, SOLAR FRAGMENT have a very unique style and songs that will lodge themselves in your brain.

It will be clear to anyone that listens to In Our Hands that the music is centered on the vocals, which are frigging brilliant. Singer Robert Leger’s approach focuses on the actual power of the voice rather than the typical power-metal method of reaching for the upper stratosphere of the mezzo-soprano register in every other line. His voice has a lot of grit and projection to it, all the while being augmented by harmonizing back-up vocal layers which add a super dramatic effect to the overall tone of the music.

On this fulcrum of vocal intensity the rest of the instruments are superbly balanced. One of the best things about this band is that each musical element works in seemingly perfect concert with the others to create a really masterful melodic environment in each song. The guitars have a great tone and the playing exhibits formidable technical ability on the part of Manuel Wiegmann and Marc Peters. But the compositions seem to be almost devoid of ego, wherein, the guitars are unmistakably featured and yet mainly serve to add to the greater substance of the songs themselves. The drums and bass, played by Sascha Schiller and Dominic Serwe respectively, are also gears toward this cooperative effort; holding down the foundation when necessary and showing flare when it’s called for.

The point is you’re getting an album that was conceived of as a fully developed piece of music rather than just a collection of songs where one element shines and the others are really just there for support. The latter scenario, I feel, is all too common in a lot of power metal today. Kudos to SOLAR FRAGMENT for getting it right.

I’m not going to go through each song here because everyone who reads this should just go out and buy the album. However, I will mention that you should pay special attention to the songs “Inside the Circle” and “Moana’s Return”. I ended up liking these songs even more after I noticed what the lyrics were about. The first one is a song about the personal conflict of Anakin Skywalker in episodes 1-3 of Starwars (Awesome!), and features guest vocals from Hansi Kursch of BLIND GUARDIAN(Awesome!). The second is about the plot from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth which happens to be one of my favorites (song is fuckin awesome too).

In my opinion SOLAR FRAGMENT have hit the mark dead on with In Our Hands. I recommend it to anyone who likes well written, well performed music.

Posted in In Our Hands - Reviews | Comments Off on skullsnbones.com, 13.05.2011 – Rating 5 of 5

Metal Hammer Germany (Print), June 2011 – Rating: 5 of 7

Den “kleinen Blind Guardian” Savage Circus war bisher trotz starker Alben nicht der verdiente Erfolg vergönnt. Vielleicht haben SOLAR FRAGMENT mehr Glück: Die deutschen Newcomer schicken sich an, das weite Feld des Fantasy Metal zu erobern. Und sie haben gute Chancen, die Schlacht für sich zu entscheiden!

IN OUR HANDS ist das Album für all jene, denen Blind Guardian schon mit IMAGINATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE zu progressiv geworden sind. SOLAR FRAGMENT knüpfen an den Stil von SOMEWHERE FAR BEYOND an: von Doublebass vorangepeitschter Power Metal voll großer Melodien, fetter Chöre und schmissiger Gitarrenriffs.

Die Eingängigkeit des Songs steht im Fokus, trotzdem schaffen sich SOLAR FRAGMENT Raum für auflockernde und überraschende Elemente. “Come Hell or High Water” galoppiert flott voran, bis akustische Seefahrer-Atmosphäre aufkommt, mit “With Empty Eyes” (größartiger Song mit definitivem Hitcharakter!) lassen elektronische Elemente aufhorchen und “March of the Golems” beginnt mit einer AC/DC-Hommage.

Langweilig wird es auf dem zweiten Album von SOLAR FRAGMENT nicht. Mit Robert Leger haben sie einen starken Sänger in ihren Reihen und Sascha Schiller erweist sich als Zauberer an den Drums. Die druckvolle Produktion tut ihr Übriges, und dass Hansi Kürsch einen Gastauftritt absolviert, spricht ebenfalls für die Band. Ganz auf Blind Guardian-Niveau befinden sich SOLAR FRAGMENT mit der Griffigkeit ihrer Songs noch nicht, aber das kann ja noch werden!

Sebastian Kessler

Posted in In Our Hands - Reviews | Comments Off on Metal Hammer Germany (Print), June 2011 – Rating: 5 of 7

blackwindmetal, 04.05.2011 – Rating: 9 of 10

In this day and age, we put a whole lot of labels on our media. If something is not considered fit for minors to view, we put a big “parental advisory” label on it. Heck, I’ve even seen some iTunes albums labeled specifically as “clean” (and I think it bit sad that we need to use that). At this point in time, I’m considering employing a “Caution: Mind-Blowing” for use with my personal hardcopy collection so that my children will know which to check out first in the event of my premature demise. Perhaps the only other album deserving of such a label this year has been Eden’s Curse’s Trinity, and the latest offering from German melodic power metallers Solar Fragment is giving them a bloody good run for their money.

In Our Hands hit me like a wrecking ball sailing through a card house. I was so swept up in it at first that I was afraid to write a review for fear that I’d come off as a driveling fool. Now that I’ve mellowed a bit and let the album pickle my brain, I’ve finally come to my senses. This isn’t like a religious epiphany or anything, but it may well be a contender for my favorite new release of 2011. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly tickles all the right receptors for me on this one. Is it the powerful, commanding vocals of Robert Leger?, the sublime guest vocals of Hansi Kursch on “Inside The Circle?” (Hansi singing about Darth Vader. You read that correctly.), the occasional nautical themes?, or perhaps the occasional similarity (if only in my mind) to the most excellent Orden Ogan?

Well, obviously I’ve got some explaining to do. While Solar Fragment throws out some hyperspeed double-bass and guitar passages, they are more often a middle tempo power metal group that relies heavily upon Leger’s potent voice to deliver the goods, and deliver he does. There is no end of hooky vocal lines on this album, and they’re slathered generously over the entire cd like so much jam on toast, and like said toast, there’s a whole lot of crunch lying beneath. Marc Peters and Manuel Wiegmann provide thoroughly proficient guitar work that performs terrifically as a cohesive force, adhering the driving rhythm section to the the soaring second-tenor range vocal parts.

I compared this to Orden Ogan in terms of layered vocals and combined instrumental sound at times, but the feeling that the guys in Solar Fragment deliver is more modern feeling and less…organic perhaps, is the term. Leger is close to the Kursch/Jens Carlsson school of vocalists, but lacks the particularly sharp edge that gives these fellows their super-aggressive tones. Therefore, he’s very well suited to this generally slower, more melodic and chunky form of power metal.

Despite a few weak points (my general distaste for cursing means that despite the greatness of “Come Hell Or High Water”, I can’t help but roll my eyes a bit. Taken in context however, the lyrics are a bit vile but not really out of place.), In Our Hands is a supreme example of a band that, while still relatively young in terms of releases, is pulling everything together to make an excellent release. Nothing tips the balance too far in these songs, and they’re persistently interesting and driving without ever resorting to filler material whatsoever. This is certainly not flowery power metal, Solar Fragment bring a very competent and sober broadside to bear. Hence, I can recommend In Our Hands to most anyone who finds bands like Blind Guardian, Excalion, and Orden Ogan to be the “more tolerable” side of a highly whimsical genre. I’ll be gobbling up the group’s first release in short order, and expect to see this splendid piece of work high on my personal list at the end of the year. This is a talented and formidable effort!

blackwindmetal.blogspot.com

Posted in In Our Hands - Reviews | Comments Off on blackwindmetal, 04.05.2011 – Rating: 9 of 10