Soul Remnants – Raising the Sacrificial Dagger (BottledHead Records)Monday, 10th January 2022
Four seems to be a primary driver in the eyes of Boston’s Soul Remnants. Releasing albums on a four-year clip, their fourth full-length Raising the Sacrificial Dagger sees the quintet reverting to their own label status with BottledHead Records. Executing a fierce blend of death metal with sophistication, finesse, and class that pulls from US and European influences past and present, these musicians excel at pushing the creative parameters which in turn allows for another standout set of material.
The initial four-song outlay bursting from your speakers is pure death gold. You’ll hear everything from Slaughter of the Soul-period At the Gates within the riffing and steady, pit-swirling tempo changes for “Malignant Lunacy”, on through to a mix of Monstrosity meets Carcass-like tremolo runs and thunderous double kick pounding against Mitch Fletcher’s menacing vocal roar during “Decades in Decay”. The steady rhythms and fluid lead breaks between guitarists Thomas Preziosi and Chad Fisher possess versatility into thrash, death, power, and neoclassical realms – aspects of Arch Enemy, Death, and Iron Maiden coming to mind in the head-swirling “Architect of Entropy” plus skull-splitting “Cult Destroyer”. All is not lost on dynamics though – when these gentlemen wish to get heavier and more melodic, they don’t sacrifice any level of heaviness or darker atmosphere, as songs like “Deconstructing Existence” and “Cascading Inertia” illustrate. Blast beats and blackened trilling allow the title track to be another favorite – intertwining against 90’s Scandinavian aspects into a monumental arrangement that switches between steady melodic death terrain and extreme, almost off the rails insanity, Mitch using a mesmerizing, lurching raspy quality to mirror the tumultuous atmosphere in the verses.
There’s something to be said for experience and knowledge not just in death metal, but in other genres as well. Soul Remnants at this point in their career have reached peak songwriting and execution of their craft with Raising the Sacrificial Dagger – old school influences put in a current context that can bridge audiences hopefully desiring this type of sound from the band.