Soilent Green - Confrontation - Relapse Records 2005
Running Time: 59:54
If any band can claim charter membership in the esteemed NOLA cadre of metal merchants, Soilent Green is it and then some. When the embryonic screamsludge of the Nun Molesters demo reared its head back in '94, I'm sure no one in SG foresaw the release of debut full-length Pussysoul, much less the world tours, two horrible auto accidents, more broken bones than the past few years of X-Games, passing of a former bandmate, and most recently, the hurricane which in essence drowned their hometown. If they could've, I'm sure a lesser band would've turned and run. Soilent has stayed the course, however, and holds the dubious honour of being the last New Orleans band to release an album prior to Hurricane Katrina. Welcome to Confrontation...
The first album in damn near five years finds Soilent in their comfort zone for the most part, but still stepping beyond the bounds of what is "expected" in metal often enough to keep the interest of longtime fans. After the half-revving dragster half-siren intro of 'Scarlet Sunrise', Soilent once again establishes their presence in any sub-genre of extreme music in which they fucking want to take part. Really, how many bands can flow so effortlessly from racing hardcore, to guttural grind, lapsing into a bastardized blues riff, and the backwater sludge for which Lousiana is known, and all in the first two songs? Not very many, bet that. I can think of a few black metal bands that could stand a few lessons in blasting from skinsman Tommy Buckley. For reference, I speak of the machine-gun patterns around the three-minute mark of 'Leaves Of Three'. Click track? Nah, I fuckin' doubt it. 'Forgive And Regret' out-'cores so very much of Victory's roster it's pathetic, only to make way for the musical devastation that is '12oz Prophet'. You can take your Crowpath, you can take your Ion Dissonance. Soilent Green go just as many places, defy just as many musical conventions, yet still manage to make their wild forays sound like songs. Soilent comes marching home again to the half-minute drum solo of 'Southern Spirit Suite', recalling the military drummers of the Civil War, who weren't entertainers, but who were there to rally the troops. Consider us rallied. New members Tony and Scott meld well into the core of Soilent Green, and manage to very literally breathe new life into the band in the process. 'Theory Of Pride In Tragedy' obliterates, fusing both technicality and bone-jarring impact to create something truly dangerous. From 1:42-2:02 in 'Fingernails On A Chalkboard', the guitars of Brian Patton and Tony launch into a riff nothing short of majestic. To those now sniveling that terms like "majestic" should only be used when referring to Blind Guardian leads or Angela Gossow...sorry, but that's just what it is. Deal. Soilent's patented fractured swamp-blues takes up the lion's share of 'Paper Cuts', injecting a fair amount of sludge just to remind you of their geographic birthplace. Ben's vocals have gotten stronger if anything with the passage of time, and his alternating blackened yowl and tar-thick growl are a high point of 'This Glass House Of Broken Bones', along with the album as a whole. Ending with 'A Permanent Solution To A Temporary Problem', Confrontation shows us a more venomous, aggressive Soilent Green than did 2001's Deleted Symphony For The Beaten Down. Based on all this band's been through, I can't wait to see what the next album brings.
The dual style of recording Soilent Green employs, as well as the full-bodied production of Erik Rutan render this album just that much more heavy and biting, creating yet another stellar chapter in the story of Louisiana's reigning kings of twisted metal mayhem. Bands this solid, albums this inherently vicious, are the reason Sherman marched to Atlanta instead of New Orleans.