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Alot has been said about the tragedies and awful bad luck that has struck the heart of the Soilent Green camp since their phenomenal third album, A Deleted Symphony for the Beaten Down, was released towards the end of 2001, so I wont waste anymore space in this review detailing these events. Essentially this review is, as it should be, dedicated to Soilent Green's long awaited and triumphant return: Confrontation.
Confrontation is the fourth full length album from the New Orlean's based five piece, complete with a couple of line-up changes since the last album and another new producer, and atleast in the eyes ( and through the ears! ) of this reviewer, Soilent Green have delivered another essential modern extreme metal masterpiece. Soilent Green long ago established their unique, signature sound and though Confrontation is no great progression from A Deleted Symphony.., it does offer some twists and turns, and perhaps most importantly, Confrontation is a fresh, brilliantly written and executed example of where Soilent Green are at in 2005.
Famed metal musician/songwriter/producer Eric Rutan was presented with the knob twiddling duties, and by using his fast improving production skills and by combining older, more traditional recording methods with modern technology (Pro-Tools), Rutan has blessed Soilent Green with their best production thus far in their illustrious career. Clarity and thick, sludgy heaviness reign surpreme, everything is superbly mixed and the end result is spectacular, before even taking into account the incredible songwriting and musicanship on display.
One of the first notable differences on Confrontation are to do with Ben Falgoust's always phenomenal vocal attack. While on previous albums, Ben has utilised a higher pitched, almost "blackened" vocal accompaniment to his varied lower range vox, on Confrontation his higher range is, well, far less "backened"?!? Instead the higher range vocals are nasty, raw, venomous snarls, while his lower vox are utilised on a far more regular basis then on prior releases, and they sound as amazing and as varied as fans have come to expect from one of extreme metal's more unique and excellent vocalists.
After a rather pointless intro Soilent Green bust into the thick, simple opening groove of "Leaves of Three", and a short way into the tune, the fuzzed out, precision blasting from Tommy Buckley and the unpredictable, varied tempo shifts and thick, bluesy grooves take hold. Throughout the remainder of the album, Soilent Green deliver their unique, grind/sludge/punk/bluesy brand of extreme metal at full throttle, each track a snarling, pissed off fireball of raw, unpredicatable and always scintillating extreme metal, regardless of what speed they are playing at. Speaking of speed, this is the band's fastest material in a while, both throughout the scathing blast beat sections and the full throttle, sludgey, punk fuelled thrashy sections. Each track is of a very high standard but if I was to select a handful of my personal favourite killer cuts they would include:
Scream Trapped Underwater, 12 Oz. Prophet, Pretty Smiles & Shattered teeth, Theory of Pride in Tragedy and a Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem.
Curiously, they decided to record a new, slightly different version of the track "They lie to hide the truth", which originally appeared on their split 7" with Eyehategod a couple of years ago. The track is however, positioned nicely on the album and the production is an improvment from the original. Confrontation also includes some experimental, noodling interludes which help to pace the album by breaking up their scathing metal attack with these chilled out, Southern fried interludes. These four interludes vary in their success, with the upbeat, Southern twang of "Another Cheap Brand of Luck" being my personal favourite.
Confrontation is a more fleshed out album then its predecessor, featuring 15 tracks and around 20 mminutes more play time then A Deleted Symphony.., offered. However, im refusing to compare this album with previous works at this early stage, particularly after I was obsessed with the captivating brilliance of A Deleted Symphony... I can however say with confidence that Confrontaion is a blistering return for one of my favourite bands, easily my current favourite metal album of 2005, and another modern metal classic by the one and only Soilent Green, therefore it scores 99%..... Ah fuck it. 100%, trust me, its worth it.