Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Solace of Requiem - Casting Ruin

Bands in the technical death/black metal arena these days seem to always be in a pissing contest.  A lot of albums are chock full of hard to play, technical solos and riffs that are surely nothing to scoff at - but when the metal community becomes a constant Battle of the Bands populated by egocentric shred-heads, the music tends to become stale and expressionless.  Call it a welcome change that Solace of Requiem put out a release that not only consists of show-offy solos, but carefully crafted compositions that are evocative of rage and calm simultaneously.

The album often opens its different chapters with atmospheric arrays of noise, providing a welcome bit of calm before the inevitable storm of shredding double bass/riff heavy segments.  The interjection of the occasional tech solo accents the ferocity and incorporeal feel of the album, adding a flair of maturity that does not always display itself in modern technical death metal releases.  It would be remiss of me to not mention the intricate interaction that vocalist Jeff Sumrell brings between vocal performance and instrumentation, intertwining these two aspects of song structure to compliment each other rather than be two separate pieces of the same structure.

Some of the more standout moments of the album occur on songs such as Casting Ruin and Soiling the Fields of Putridity, where frenetic riffing is interrupted by sweeps that poke their head above the turmoil in a sea of sonic ferocity, and instrumentals take on an indescribably exciting epileptic quality.  The release is also sprinkled with a bunch of neat little ethereal treats that make it feel sort of mystical / stargazey (the music box in Wading Into Mire, chimes in Song of Shards).  The slower parts of the album make the quick hitting, shreddier bits feel as if they have a bit more weight to them (e.g. interlude in Pools of Ablation), using nuance to allow efficient and exciting operation that lifts the listener above all of the chaos to revel in all of its dark glory.

Even when the album is operating under a more direct, heavy approach, it does not feel tired or overdone.  What makes this album so unique is its ability to blend all of these tiny little additions into hard-hitting, straight-to-the-point metal and use them as an amplification of intensity rather than a grounding point.  The integration of industrial metal aspects at the end of Pools of Ablation keep the general mood of the track going long after instrumentation is finished, while the chimes at the beginning of Song of Shards add a dash of curiosity to a track that would otherwise be typical death metal fare (albeit well-written typical death metal fare).  All of these minute details make Solace of Requiem's Casting Ruin a well-oiled machine that displays what this band can do when they are operating at their finest - and it's a hell of a ride.

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