Soul Remnants – Black and Blood (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

Friday, 11th October 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

I’ve been fortunate enough to take in this Massachusetts death metal quintet on the live front, and spun their debut album Plague of the Universe from 2009 numerous times. Settling in with a new drummer (Frozen/Death Ray Vision’s kit-master Colin Conway) and second guitarist Chad Fisher a seasoned player with power metal act Armory, the follow up Black and Blood will hopefully establish a stronger foothold with the masses.

A sequel to the previous album “Chopwork II” starts off the proceedings in savage Slayer-esque fashion, the riff charge melding nicely against Conway’s quick fill transitions and Mitchell Fletcher’s discernible growling vocals. From there you will get a series of songs that showcase the technical comfort and speed skills of guitarists Tom Preziosi and Chad Fisher, reminiscent of Heartwork era Carcass, classic Monstrosity, and even various periods of Death’s career – the vicious “Cauldron of Blood” and low tuned stair step “No Afterlife” sitting well with these ears.

The surprise track on the album occurs right in the middle with the epic 8:15 “Dead Black (Heart of Ice)”. The opening guitar harmonies and riff choices recall early Hammett/ Hetfield set ups for Metallica, the tempo fluctuating between almost Pagan meets blast beats for the crux of the verses as Mitchell bellows the words from the depth of his soul. At the 3:45 mark, bassist Ryan Murphy gets to set the mood while the arrangement goes for a stripped down acoustic sparseness- before the 4:28 sonic black metal meets melodic death burst of energy takes you into another universe. Pure gold for Soul Remnants here!

Expert knowledge of the genre, proper execution, memorable and distinct songwriting, plus production on par with the best in the business- Black and Blood is a premiere death metal release for those who love the genre.

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