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If you are reading this review, do me one favor. Could you all please say it out loud: "This is Soilent Green's Confrontation CD." A little obvious and dumb, but let me get to the real point. Soilent Green are back...they've been in car crashes, lost a bassist under very tragic and sudden circumstances, and they're a very well-respected band of metal legends. This is the sound of all that pressure, heartbreak, loss, and frustration being taken out back and soundly thrashed: yep, Soilent Green got it right with the title of their new release.
Soilent Green got it right for this CD is nothing but Confrontation indeed. The Soilent Green sound is as vital as ever, the band still alternating between grooving, bone-breaking grind, muddy sludge, and everything in-between. The only difference is in how suprisingly well it sounds: with each new listen I find Confrontation staring me down with something I missed the time before, and all to my liking.
"Scarlet Sunrise" is the much-lauded intro song, an instrumental second or two of music that sounds like a NASCAR event. "Leaves of Three" sounds just like good old Soilent Green. Take one half southern sludge, one fourth hardcore vocals courtesy of Ben Falgoust, and one fourth more transitive grind that pops up here and there so seamlessly you'd think that it's breakneck signature sound has always been easily compatible with the laid-back swagger of sludge. The song switches pace so often you hardly know what hit you so hard and before you know it it's all over, like an UFC mixed-martial arts match. "A Scream Trapped Underwater" is a favorite of mine. The song's excellent see-sawing between frantic grind and crusty hard rock is head-banging material for sure. Falgoust's vocals manage to be caustic and ripping yet strangely clear; I received no lyric sheets for this review but I know pretty much what he's saying, no questions asked. "Forgive & Regret" has some southern rock tones buoying Falgoust's vocals; not to mention excellent drumming from Tommy Buckley, who sounds like a skin-smacking octopus from Hell. "12 Oz. Prophet" is a straight-up aggro-grind/hard rock medley, no questions asked. "Southern Spirit Suite" is a polite, march-worthy drum interlude which leads into the dynamite blasting of "Pretty Smiles & Shattered Teeth." As mentioned earlier, Soilent Green have perfected the slow-to-heavy ratio of tempo; one has pounding sludge to speedy grind covered in crust and back again all in the space of one nice song like this. "Liquor & Cigarettes" conveys a kindly, homey, country-jazz feel...difficult to describe but a nice change of scene. A breather like "Liquor" is a must before the upcoming flurry of gut punches; the next few songs are the best of the entire album. "Theory of Pride in Tragedy" sounds like an unholy matrimony of the mosh-core of Throwdown, the grind of early Napalm Death, and even a bit of southern fried rock. Liking all three genres just mentioned, I count this as one of the album's most shining highlights. The equally solid "Fingernails on a Chalkboard" is drenched in frantic blast-beats, Falgoust's vomited vocals, and the pissed-off conviction of straight-up, hardcore, rage. The funky bass lines of the interlude "Paper Cut" are another resting spot; the swaggering beatdown that is "They Lie to Hide the Truth" takes all of your brief recovery away in the blink of a black eye. "Another Cheap Brand of Luck" is a hokey guitar passage, folksy and to the point. The CD ends with a bang; "This Glass House of Broken Words" and "A Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem" are the dynamtie and the fuse, respectively, blowing you apart.
When all is said and done, this CD is pretty good, but not great. It is a solid release from a unique, trail-blazing, and alltogether uncommon band. However, no matter how many genres one mixes, variety can still be avoided and at times Confrontation feels a bit blurry; songs run into and out-of each other with little or nothing to discern them with. I suppose the simply huge amount of "interludes" (in my mind filler) are attempts to remedy this. Giving each instrumentalist in the band a chance to quickly bust out their out jam, their own chance to shine mind you, is kind of cool on paper but nothing great on track. Fans have waited a long-time for this CD; I am wondering if many will clamor for the next album to have fifteen SOILENT GREEN tracks as opposed to a few tracks interspersed with solo pieces. Let's face it folks; the great thing about Soilent Green isn't the band members themselves, but the sum of all parts. Despite these minor failings, Soilent Green's Confrontation is an excellent album filled with a smorgasboard of metal archetypes and technical wizardry. A must for die-hard fans, instrument worshippers, or people looking for something a little bit different.
originally printed on www.ANTIMusic.com