Solium Fatalis – Genetically Engineered to Enslave (Wicked Music)Thursday, 1st November 2018
Death metal appears to be moving in two distinct directions. You have the musicians who set out to become the most intricate and technical at their craft- dazzling in displays of dexterity while pushing the BPM count and note numbers to infinity, and then you have ones who wish to hold on to the early tenets of the movement – creating brutality within a songwriting context, in turn developing riffs and tracks that stand the test of time (“Pull the Plug”, “Left Hand Path”, etc.). What does this have to do with New Hampshire’s Solium Fatalis, you ask? Well, over the course of their past three full-lengths, they’ve attained a faithful buzz for their love of death metal, still being aggressive and passionate without succumbing to any current trends blazing the underground. Their latest effort Genetically Engineered to Enslave as a result is probably the apex of their creative output – pushing parameters and adding dynamic nuances for a continuous front to back aural pleasing experience.
The waves of crushing riffs come in all directions – the tempos can be fast and furious for “Threshold”, or semi-doomy and thunderous in “Servile”. Guitarist Jim Gregory and Ryan Beevers slash and dash, laying down vicious rhythm combinations and then unfurling these sick, proficient leads and accents that penetrate to the hilt, just as many of their mentors from the early to late 1990’s did in the genre of both American and European descent. That means there’s just as much Morbid Angel as there is Hypocrisy to the band’s outlook and effort, along with some thrash and traditional aspects for good measure – as long as you are willing to look deep into the crevices. Jeff DeMarco as a singer has the perfect growl/scream quotient to his delivery – sending chills when holding out certain high screams for “Synthon” while being forceful and menacing during “Chemical Reagent”. Midway through the band pay tribute to California band Epidemic by covering “Factor Red” – one of those early 90’s bands that sat in that thrash/death crossover scene, loved by many but possibly a victim of changing tides to make that breakthrough beyond the underground.
Highlights to these ears include “A Gathering of Storms” and “Fiery the Angels Fell”. The former contains a soothing guest appearance from Haydee Irizarry (Aversed, Carnivora) plus the savage work of Cryptopsy’s Matt McGachy on an atmospheric death ballad, the main riffs and hooks bone-crushing you into submission, while the latter has a rhythmic gallop as the vocals and guitars channel everything from Florida death to even Edge of Sanity action in spots. With production values on par with the biggest bands in this genre, the added narrative and piano/atmospheric touches showcase Solium Fatalis’ reach to leave no stone unturned.
All fans of death metal need to hear this record. Quality reigns in the end, and you’d be hard pressed to find something that hits harder than Genetically Engineered to Enslave.