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The fact that Soilent Green continue to release such high quality music despite the tragedy surrounding the band (the deaths of Glenn Rambo and Scott Williams, as well as the bus accidents and subsequent injuries) is astounding. "Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction" doesn't break new ground for this influential band, basically picking up where 2005's "Confrontation" left off, but with music this heavy, intricate and catchy, it's hard to blame them for continuing to use a winning formula.
"Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction" opens with "Mental Acupuncture," which starts with a slow, bluesy, sludge riff, and then picks up with the grindcore, with grind riffage, d-beats, and blast beats. The song progresses into blues territory before picking up the pace once again. This formula is continued on "Blessed in the Arms of Servitude." Then, "In the Same Breath" starts with a soulful, blues- and rockabilly-tinged acoustic intro until going back into full-on grind mode. "Lovesick" is performed similarly with an acoustic intro.
Here's what I find intriguing about this release: perhaps it's the guitar tone, but some of the grindcore-styled riffs on this release sound almost uplifting. Take the riff from "Lovesick" at the :56 mark or the one found on "Superstition Aimed at One's Skull" at the minute mark. Uplifting most likely isn't the word one might think of when humming a grindcore riff, and if it's not the word to be used here, then "catchy" certainly is. If the riff found at 1:14 into "All This Good Intention Wasted in the Wake of Apathy" isn't catchy (in an extreme metal way, of course), then I don't know what is.
Brian Patton, also of Eyehategod (in)fame, is, at this point, an established guitarist, with a keen ear for catchy grind riffs, Southern sludge and blues rock. His style has been described as "unorthodox," which is a good description, as blues rock, grindcore and sludge metal don't often, if ever, collide. Tommy Buckley is probably the most talented of the drummers hailing from the NOLA scene. As is the case with grindcore, the blast beat is used more than frequently, and Buckley certainly whores it out. However, that doesn't mean his drumming lacks substance; he mixes up the beats enough to keep the drum performance interesting, whether it be a blast, your classic punk-sounding d-beat, a doomy brooding sludge metal beat, or throwing you off with some odd time signatures. On top of that, his drumming is positively fill laden, mostly based on the snare and toms. The bass is, as per usual with an extreme metal release, virtually non-existent, save for a few parts here and there spanning no longer than a few seconds. Ben Falgoust, also the frontman for New Orleans' own blackened death/thrash metal act Goatwhore, is a force to be reckoned with. His commanding performance differs from previous Soilent Green releases in that he really only sticks with his hardcore-influenced bark nowadays. Lower growls can be found occasionally and higher screams are very rare (as opposed to, for example, "Deleted Symphony for the Beaten Down). Mostly he utilizes his barking yell. The only gripe I have with his performance is the sheer amount of vocalizing he does: the lyric sheets are just too goddamn long. Ben, your vocals are top-notch, but give it a rest from time to time.
The production, courtesy of Erik Rutan is very good, despite the lack of bass. The guitars have a good, grinding tone during the tremolo-picked passages, and a foreboding crunch during the slower paced, sludgy moments of the album. The drums are well mixed while not sounding triggered; they actually sound rather organic and natural sounding. The vocals are also produced at the level they should be, not dominating the music and not being too far back in the mix. Soilent Green is a "different" band: their harsh combination of blues rock, sludge and grindcore is, as stated before, unorthodox, but to some it can be very rewarding. Any fan of extreme metal should find something they like here. Get it.
Soilent Green sound exactly like what you would expect a band to sound like which has been through the troubles they have over their two-decade existence. Well documented troubles that have included two debilitating van accidents, the murder/suicide of an ex-member and death by Hurricane Katrina of another resulting in said band sounding angry, pissed off and very impatient. Not to say Soilent Green have ever been a band you'd have a picnic listening to but "Inevitable Collapse In The Presence Of Conviction" is heavy, very heavy, rather akin to listening to the band's collective anger management sessions.
In the creation of their 5th album, SG blend fast periods of grind; riffs and tempos of a pure Doom nature; and a healthy dollop of Southern 'NOLA' feel, just as ever before really. Opener "Mental Acupuncture" sets the scene for the remaining 41 minutes as riff after riff is crammed in each piece at such a pace that little to none of them are ever given the time to fulfill their potential, which is a pity as interspersed among the chaos are some truly great riffs, both in the hard and slow categories 'Green inhabit. "For Lack Of Perfect Words" and "When All Roads Lead To Rome" typify such an approach, with a greater emphasis on slower tempos for periods of the song before you sense the band get bored of maintaining the same tempo for more than 5 seconds and hit the accelerator, bursting into classic Nasum and Napalm Death levels of grind intensity. With a heavy and audible bass sound weighing down the sound, Soilent Green achieve a brutality similar to the likes of Dying Fetus when they wish, just listen to "Antioxidant", though with greater groove and a mind-piercing guitar tone references to fellow 'NOLA' dwellers Down and Eyehategod are expected and fit as commendable pinpoints to the SG racket. Vocalist Ben Falgoust must also be recognised for his performance in ripping up his throat for a performance like this, sounding incredibly unmerciful in his straight ahead approach to Metal growling and shrieking, all in the name of dissolution with their external circumstances and the bad luck to have plagued the band thus far.
Apart from the odd moment of a pleasant country-sounding banjo to soothe the tinnitus and headache, "Inevitable..." never lets up the intensity. Commendable indeed but a greater development of key riffs within some songs, notably one towards the end of "Mental Acupuncture”, would go a long way to making the songs more hummable and longer lasting in the memory without skimping on the heaviness of the record. Despite that, Soilent Green have clearly found their style and they intend to stick with it, as to blend a number of disparate sub-genres as they do, smoothly, is no easy business.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net
Sludge metal is one of the first genres I discovered when I was starting out on my metal journey. I first picked up Corrosion of Conformity's Deliverance when I was about 13. Unfortunately, nothing I have heard in this genre beyond Acid Bath really comes close to that first album for me. Soilent Green, despite not being completely sludge metal as they have obvious death and grind influences as well, are no different. That's not to say the album is not enjoyable, it just does not meet the same standard as tht C.O.C. classic.
The major problem area with this album, and the band in general, is the vocals of Ben Falgoust, who utilizes a raspy, guttural growl. Do not get me wrong, I actually enjoy Falgoust in general, but I prefer his work with Goatwhore, than Soilent Green. The reason for this is that his vocal style simply works better in the black/death sort of music of Goatwhore than the style of Soilent Green. The other problem is that Falgoust does not change his vocal style at any point during this album.
The riffs are of course what really drive this album. Brian Patton, despite being a little unorthodox, can write some truly memorable riffs. He can also play a pretty decent acoustic part. The guitar is distorted but has a great tone, especially on the leads. Occasionally the death/grind influences do show through in the guitar riffs. The bass usually follows along with the drums and often cannot be heard on its own.
The music in general is fairly fast paced, with thundering drums. There is an occasional break in the speed though while Falgoust continues screaming over the top of it. The songs are all short, with only one song breaking the four and a half minute mark, by just two seconds. This makes for an easy listen.
Overall, the album is pretty good, it's not as good as the classics of the genres, but is a decent listen. I do still prefer Falgoust's voice in Goatwhore though. I would probably like Soilent Green a little more with a different singer.
Soilent Green has been through some turbulent times. Former bassist Scott Williams was murdered shortly before the release of their 2005 album Confrontation and soon after, ex-vocalist Glen Rambo was killed in Hurricane Katrina. Yet despite all this adversity, Soilent Green have continuously released massively heavy slabs of pure fury on the masses; and with their 5th full length, Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction, the sludge machine shows no sign of stopping.
I’ve heard the occasional Soilent Green song in the past, but Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction was my first true exposure to this band. Right away I noticed that there is no such thing as a conventional song structure on the disc. Each track contains a dozen or more riffs and transitions, but each one feels incredibly organic. Heavy grooves blend into grinding riffs seamlessly, much of this being owed to the drumming of Tommy Buckley. His fills aid what would have otherwise been awkward shifts in rhythm. The man can blast with the best with them and then at the drop of hat switch to a laid back southern rock tempo.
Some of my friends are die hard Soilent Green fans, and they would always tell me that the guitar work is unlike anything out there. I generally reserve this type of praise for albums like Gorguts’ Obscura or something similarly groundbreaking, however after being pummeled and scrambled by the paranoid, maniacal riffage delivered by Brian Patton, I’m a believer. There is no structure to what he plays, and most modern guitarists would be perplexed at his complete unorthodoxy. He is truly the defining element of Soilent Green. Some of the grooves he settles into are mind-blowing; take for instance the first 30 seconds of “Superstition Aimed At One’s Skull”.
A word needs to be said about Ben Falgoust, the multi-talented frontman of Soilent Green and owner of Indecision Records. His vocals on Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction are nothing short of awesome. Full bodied growls spew forth venom aimed at anyone who buys into the mob mentality, which is appropriately fitting for a band named after a movie in which the mindless individuals of a dystopian future unknowingly eat processed food made from dead humans. His lyrics are a little on the weak side poetically, but after listening to Falgoust screaming himself red in the face with rage and conviction, it’s hard to find complaint.
Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction is an interesting album. My complaints lay with the staying power of the songs. There are memorable parts to be sure, but I don’t see myself listening to this album regularly. However, it’s worth having for those with a penchant for heavy, chaotic, and angry music. The bone crunching grooves and face melting grind will permanently disfigure your body with prolonged exposure, but at least your ears will thank you for such a cerebral and exhilarating listen.