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Conviction yields oh-so rewarding results - 90%

COBHC_Oranos, July 5th, 2010

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.