Inevitable Collapse In The Presence Of Conviction
posted on 4/2008 By:
I've been a Soilent Green fan since I first belatedly ran across Sewn Mouth Secrets some years back, and I still hold that record as the band's finest hour. Nothing on Inevitable Collapse changes that fact, although it’s a great addition to this Louisiana collective’s canon, somewhere between the power of Sewn Mouth and its follow-up A Deleted Symphony For The Beaten Down. After Confrontation, a record that garnered them praise but that I found to be underwhelming, they’ve rebounded with an improved platter of their patent doom-y grind. Or maybe it's grinding doom. Either way.
As I listen, the first thing that leaps out at me is the preponderance of killer riffs—every song has an awesome downtuned riff or twelve, both of the blues-rock-on-meth variety or the grindcore strain, one leading into the next and almost never coming back again. While the stoner-rock riffing is mostly within the Sabbath box, the best ones take a turn that makes them end up somewhere odd—Soilent’s aversion to traditional structures applies even to their riffs, with each one lasting just a bit longer than you think it will, or moving through another inversion before settling down. Gone are the jazz-interlude elements of “Her Unsober Ways” and the short interstitial tracks from Confrontation. There’s still a smattering of acoustic-guitar moments, reminiscent of the few pseudo-country sections that have popped up in the past. (There’s even a bit of “For Lack Of Perfect Words” that reminds me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ softer side. Don’t let that keep you from listening, though.) These acoustic bits are not as trippy as the stranger moments of previous releases—perhaps a bit less bizarre or just a bit more expected at this point—but the quality of the material on hand makes up for any lack of the usual tricks and turns. I wasn’t blown away by Confrontation because I felt that the songwriting wasn’t on par with the band’s best. Inevitable Collapse manages to balance the Soilent formula, that ever-changing array of riffs and changes, against the basic concepts of being listenable and being memorable, and that’s what this band does impeccably when they’re firing on all cylinders.
As with Confrontation, Collapse is produced by underground go-to guy Erik Rutan, and he does a stellar job here, as he tends to do. The production is rock solid—I’d say even better than the previous disc—with a great dirty guitar tone and everything clear and punchy. Ben Falgoust’s vocals have long been among my favorites in metal, both on his releases with Soilent and with black/death side-project-gone-big-time Goatwhore. Here he’s as venomous as ever, his attack as always varied between his death metal bellow and a midrange bark. (The blackened rasp seems to be gradually fading from Soilent’s arsenal.) On the instrumental front, I find myself focusing on the drums, which is kind of unusual for me. I’m a guitarist myself, and I appreciate good drumming, but I rarely focus in on it unless it really either sucks or fits just right. Tommy Buckley plays and sounds great here, his snare drum solid and thwacky (that’s my new word). He’s either laying down a mean mother of a groove or blasting his ass off—he plays to fit the moment, and I’m digging it.
I know a few metalheads who don’t love Soilent as much as I do, and although I’ll admit that I don’t quite understand it, I accept their indifference and move on. (I mean, seriously? Grind + Nola sludge? What’s not to love?) The only really negative thing I could say about Inevitable Collapse is that it’s not a complete knockout, just a return to focus, a return to Sewn Mouth or Symphony. But since I think those two are killer records, that’s an almost empty criticism. (It’s like saying, “This movie is no better than Apocalypse Now.” Okay, fine. I’ll watch it.) It’s a step up from Confrontation, and the stoner-doom quotient is ratcheted up a bit to make it somewhat more accessible, a development that brings with it the concurrent dip in Napalm Death-styled grinding, but whatever... It's simply another damn fine record in a catalog filled with them (except Pussysoul, which never did a thing for me.) To those non-Soilent-loving metalheads I say this: after five records, if you’re not a Soilent fan already, I fear that you’re not really going to jump up and down over this, no matter how good it may be. That’s a shame, because to the rest of ye I say this: Soilent Green does a killer job of mixing crusty sludge and grindcore and stoner metal into one head-spinning blast, and they’re back at their best again. Check it out.
I'm not sure what's up with the 70s-sci-fi-meets-Swan-Lake album cover, though...
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7/19/2005 Soilent Green
A Deleted Symphony for the Beaten Down