Review Summary: Mixing pummelling riffs with extremely tight musicianship and urban attitude, Soltice’s self titled debut is easily among the best death/thrash metal albums of all time.
Solstice isn’t the best known thrash/death metal band, but managed to lay down two classics before breaking up as the death metal scene shrunk somewhat (though they reformed and released a new album, To Dust
, in 2009). While their second album, the groovier and darker Pray
, has some extremely positive aspects of its own, particularly its vocals and guitar work, their debut will never quite be surpassed, with extremely tight, thrashy musicianship mixed with some of the best riffs and solos possible, along with a great deal of urban attitude, that place it upon the upper echelons of the thrash hierarchy, with quality comparable to that of the legendary Epidemic Of Violence
and Slaughter In The Vatican
For a relatively inexperienced band, the musicianship present here is extreme impressive. The guitar riffs throughout are phenomenal, turning from fast to technical to groovy extremely confidently, with elements of crossover implemented, while some excellent guitar solos and occasional harmonies keep it varied and entertaining. The bass work isn’t as audible as in Pray
, but is still able to be heard clearly as it performs some of the same excellent riffs as the guitars. The drum work is as good as the guitars, with impressive fills and extremely tight double bass work keeping it energetic and forceful, while the vocals of future Cannibal Corpse
guitarist Rob Barrett prove themselves to be extremely forceful, executed in an upper mid-range fashion that could be best likened to a mix of a thrash/crossover shout and the vocals of Chuck Shuldiner.
There are no weak tracks on this album. From excellent opener, Transmogrified
– with its energetic and groovy riffs and excellent solo – to the discordant closing track, Aberration
, there is a constant supply of excellent songs. Cleansed Of Impurity
features a strong mixture of tight, thrashy riffing and some extremely technical and groovy segments, while Survival Reaction
quickly kicks you in the face with some lightning fast riffs and a twisted solo with some excellent sweep picking. Netherworld
begins in a slow, doomy fashion before exploding into a blast beat and some malevolent riffs, while the last 3 tracks each provide some explosive, deathly riffs and solos that keep the album consistently entertaining. Even the joke-ish S.M.D.
, a Carnivore
cover, proves itself to be entertaining and forceful in its own right while firmly establishing the crossover influences found throughout the album in a single track.
Whether you like extreme thrash or early death metal, this album will easily satisfy the metal listener with some absolutely blazing riffs and songs throughout. Despite it not being as well known as albums by fellow bands from both the death and thrash metal scenes, it’s certainly among the best.