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Not Great, but Still Fine - 77%

JamesIII, February 21st, 2010

It goes without saying that many of the Southeast's metal bands manage to overcome trials and continue to put out unique quality music. Soilent Green is an excellent example of this, with "Confrontation" being recorded after Ben Falgoust's car crash and Scott Williams' murder in 2004. Yet that in itself didn't deter this New Orleans outfit from coming up with another collection of songs for what turned out to be a slightly different, though still satisfying album for the Soilent Green fanbase.

"Confrontation" sees the band bringing more Southern groove and less grindcore elements, though there are still plenty of that to be found. Falgoust continues to emit his unvaried, though hefty hardcore inspired vocals, though his performance isn't nearly as tedious as most vocalists categorized as "hardcore inspired." The riff work continues to be gritty supplying a dense amount of sludgy heaviness while Tommy Buckley delivers a very commendable performance behind the kit, one of the things I really enjoyed about this album.

Once we get past "Scarlet Sunrise," which is more a disposable introductory track than anything else, "Leaves of Three" roars from the speakers. It heavily rides that Southern groove I mentioned earlier, and were it not for the more dense guitar tone and perhaps more focused attack, I'd say it reminds me a little of Pantera's latter career material. "A Scream Trapped Underwater" is similiar, though in my opinion better, not to mention my personal favorite track on the record as it teeters between the band's usual frenzy and more groovier elements. Falgoust delivers something of a varied vocal approach here, managing to be clear in his words, which is rather unusual for the majority of the material he's contributed to with this band. Despite the departure, his variations work very well here.

Notice that many of the other songs off "Confrontation" take on a similiar sound to "A Scream Trapped Underwater." I don't foresee that as necessarily bad, since both "12 Oz. Prophet," with its catchy intro and "Forgive & Regret" both work fine but are shorter than the song they seem to mimic, but don't confuse "mimic" with self-plagarism. "Theory of Pride In Tragedy" is a similiar story, but this one leans more on the altar of speed metal, something I'm a pretty big fan of and personally enjoyed encountering on this album. The album closer, "A Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem" also works fine, delivering a hammer to the face just as "Confrontation" draws to a close.

Unfortunately, "Confrontation" isn't all sludge infested happiness and utter brutality. Some songs, particularly "Pretty Smiles & Shattered Teeth" and the political striker "They Lie to Hide the Truth" both get repetitive, which seems to happen more on "Confrontation" than anywhere else in Soilent Green's catalog. Neither of these are horrendous, but neither are essential listens, either. In addition to those is a barrage of filler interludes. I personally dislike interludes or short, seemingly pointless instrumentals because while on the first or second listen they might be halfway interesting, but on repeated listens it gets tiring. Some of these interludes work decently enough, I particularly stick around to hear Tommy Buckley's thirty-five second drum solo on "Southern Spirit Suite," because I like the guy and his work. Elsewhere, the laid back "Liqour & Cigarettes" is quite charming, really, despite the overall darkness and anger of the album as a whole. Beyond those two, the remaining fillers just get tiring to withstand, as you wait impatiently for the next proper song to begin.

Aside from my minor complaints that drag down the album in a rather miniscule way, Soilent Green delivered a respectable hammer on "Confrontation." They continue to be a unique band in the Southeast "sludge" metal movement, probably one of the more unique scenes out there to begin with. I've always took a liking to this band and their irresistable soundtrack to a misanthropic dystopian hell, and "Confrontation" meets almost all expectations set for them. This isn't necessarily my favorite album of theirs, nor is it their most celebrated in terms of their whole career, but it still requires looking into for the Soilent Green fan.