Solium Fatalis are a death metal band with a LOT of history. After releasing three studio albums previously, Solium Fatalis, The Undying Season and Neuronic Saw, the band shows no signs of slowing down at all with their latest release Genetically Engineered to Enslave. Having shared the stage with big names such as Cryptopsy and Belphegor, the band has proven they are more than capable of writing complex music with intricate concepts that will burst the minds of those who choose to delve into it (kind of like the guy in the artwork).
Genetically Engineered to Enslave is the bands 4th album in 5 years. Whenever bands put out music that quickly, it’s usually rushed, sub-par or just uninspired, so when I found out they pushed out this many albums so quickly, I didn’t really have high hopes for this album, but Solium Fatalis have the formula together where they can create interesting music constantly while being inspired by something new.
Opening the album with “Threshold”, the New Hampshire based Quartet prove that they are one of the best upcoming acts in Death Metal, with machine gun-like double kicks, violent riffing and tormented vocals setting an atmosphere of darkness, brutality and machinery (which happens to fit the title well). The band really lets drummer Jeff Saltzman shine in the opening track especially, with a well balanced mixture of fast paced blast beats and his insanely accurate double kicks going almost constantly throughout the track. Whilst I find double kicks going throughout a song sometimes a bit dull, it works well for the quartet as they push themselves to impress old listeners and new alike with raw talent, both in songwriting and musical ability.
On my first listen of Genetically Engineered to Enslave, there’s one thing that really peaked my interest, and that’s the beginning of the third track of the album, “Servile”. Very reminiscent in tone and style of Cannibal Corpse’s “Scourge of Iron”, it begins with the same, sludgy yet powerfully heavy chug style with a very similar guitar tone, and it’s AWESOME. The production on this track, and even the album, is enough to reel in any listener, new or old, and can easily create instant fans. Guitarists Jim Gregory and Ryan Beevers really showcase their talent and writing ability, from demented minor scale progressions and evil octave chord riffs, mind-blowingly insane solo’s to clean sections which give the song a bit of flavour and personality.
Another song that really grabbed me on the first listen was “A Gathering of Storms”, mainly due to the change of pace and the introduction of clean singing. Bringing in guest vocalists Matt McGachy from Cryptopsy and Haydee Irizarry from Carnivora, the band has created what almost works as a Death Metal ballad, with a clean guitar hook creating an image of a dark and emotional dystopia. Gregory and Beevers utilize layers upon layers of different guitar parts throughout the song, which help keep the song interesting and constantly keeping you guessing what’s going to come next.
Irizarry’s performance throughout the track is probably the most interesting and captivating of the song, as her clean vocals really contrast McGachy and Jeff DeMarco’s ear piercing and brutal heavy vocals, while maintaining the tone consistently.
A main thing that I’m going to be pointing out in my reviews (probably further) is the bass presence, or lack thereof. I am SO GLAD that DeMarco utilized his instrument in a captivating way that helps it stand out from just following the root notes, and although he does follow the root notes, there are many sections throughout the album (See the entire “A Gathering of Storms” track) where his playing stands out and creates another layer that brings the song together properly and makes it whole.
Solium Fatalis are about to show that they are one of the finest upcoming Blackened Death Metal acts in the world, with nothing but pure crushing riffs and the utter-violence that is Genetically Engineered to Enslave. If there’s any album you should be excited for to burst out of the blue, create a ripple in the Death Metal local scene and possibly even shoot the band towards a bigger fanbase and crowd, it’s this one.