Soulline – Reflections (Massacre Records)

Monday, 13th May 2024
Rating: 8 / 10

Previously privy to the last album Screaming Eyes back in 2022, Soulline returns with another record in Reflections. This Swiss unit chose to tackle various troubled and problematic issues concerning the environment and connection to planet Earth – wrapping the proceedings around a groovy, modern mix of melodic death metal that pulls from different North American / European influences. The continuity of styles allows the five-piece to truly embrace diverse aspects this time around a bit better, with stronger melodic/emo-oriented vocals sitting well next to the normal growls/screams, along with a bevy of mid-tempo circular twin guitar harmonies sitting side by side to the heavy rhythmic framework.

It’s the finer details that really showcase the band’s desire to expand into fresh territory – be it a killer, progressive meets groove drum performance for “Say Goodbye” or the alternative / gothic guitar and vocal strains throughout “Fragile Dreams”, this creates heightened awareness that listeners can expect a bit more diversity this go around. Do not fear that these musicians have steered totally off the familiar In Flames meets Trivium or Lamb of God path – “Despise Your God” will rip flesh from the bone, as will the murky, slow builder “Before the Dawn”. The counterpoint measures, immaculate riff precision, plus tasty lead breaks courtesy of Lorenzo Barenco and Marco Alberti provide plenty of heroic hooks to hang upon – check out their work in the In Flames’-ish “Clochard” as a prime example to their obvious talent. Brevity is the ace in the hole at a 37-minute album, the closer “I’m So Sorry” for instance appearing as a seesaw tennis match between an emo-like ballad before turning up the distortion/heavy gears through some sinister Gabriele Gianora blood curdling screams to ensure a fitting conclusion to the record. Self-produced by the group, they’ve achieved a sound that’s dynamic on all ends without becoming a loudness/compression war to the senses.

Reflections achieves Soulline’s goal to garner attention beyond the modern melodic death/groove metal community, branching out into alternative/gothic angles in moderate ways while not steeping too far off the platform already established through earlier records. In modest terms, the finest record to date for the group, who appear to be ready for upward momentum that should be achieved if they play their cards right.

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