Running a metal website such as this one, I get a ton of submissions from bands looking for coverage. It’s not easy to get to those records, if I hear them at all, because I am inundated as it is with music. It’s just not physically possible to absorb it all. Apologies if I haven’t gotten to you yet. But what helps to stand out is a crafty subject line, something that makes me or other writers take notice. Give us a reason to dig into your record or at least give you a fighting chance.
Last month, I got the new record from Souls of Dissolution, a black metal band out of Riverside, Calif., and a major reason I listened to the music as soon as it was sent my way is their subject line in the e-mail made me laugh. The band isn’t trying to be funny in their music, mind you, but they figured out a way to make a writer like me, who is drowning in new music, decide to give it a shot. And I’m really glad I did, because their debut “These Things We Have Wrought” is 35 minutes of punishing Emperor worship (the band also cites Morbid Angel and Vader as influences, and that’s certainly in here), a really well put together collection of seven tracks that gives you a nice dose of their intensity and their strong songwriting chops. Before you ask, no, I am not going to reveal what their subject line was, but it made me think that creativity must carry over to their music, and that ended up being the case. The band isn’t rewriting the genre book, but they have come up with ways to make their songs stand out, remain memorable long after you’ve heard them, and even do a little damage to your hearing. They are intense and passionate, and they have a real future ahead of them.
For all of the band’s power, and they have it in great quantities, there are but two members responsible for this chaos–Michael Mesmer (vocals/programming/guitars/bass), of Thrones of Scorn and Shadowloo, and Austin Birch (guitars). The bulk of what you’ll hear is cascading, stormy black metal full of melody and anguish, but there also are strains of classic death metal, guttural thrash, and even prog. It’s an adventurous, creative display that goes on, and with each new peak and valley they conquer, they reveal more of their ability, as well as their tormented darkness. In their bio, they claim their music helps them express their contempt for humanity, and the way this stuff is delivered, there’s little doubting these violent eruptions do just that. It’s a really fun, but also incredibly brutal, listening experience.
“All Good Things” tears the lid off the thing, with crunchy thrash, thick black metal-style melodies, and melodic shrieking that sounds as musical as it does furious. Hopefully that makes sense to you all, but if it doesn’t, go listen to the thing. There’s a cold, harsh speaking section that envisions the destruction of the world, and charging guitar soloing (courtesy of band comrade Michael James) that puts the finishing touches on this killer opener. “Defiler” begins with drums that could tear a hole in the earth, and from there dark melodies snake through the thing and meet up with madness. The vocals are abrasive and creaky, and along with them, the band slides into a proggy section that dashes things with different colors before the song comes to a tumultuous end. “Unknown” blasts out of the gate with vicious force, with guitar melodies swimming in and knifing through murky waves, and more thrash goodness arriving to give you a good burst of violence. The playing gets brainy again, and a swarm of tremolo picking sweeps this track into utter darkness. “Crystal Mountain” gives you no time to catch your breath, galloping heavily and twisting your mind with tricky playing that offers no indication where things are heading. In fact, the song changes its tempo and character a ton of times, keeping you wide awake in case the next turn crushes you into a brick wall.
“Nebulous (the Fourth Seal)” is ugly and brutal immediately, with more creative playing injected into track and the band smashing you with power. There are some gazey moments that dust you with a black mist, and severe storming crashes through and refuses to offer any mercy. “Chaos Theory of the Ancients” is another mind-blower compositionally, as the band keeps pouring black melodies, interesting twists, and a ton of drama into their music. There are sinister guitar lines, gnarly vocals that match the scene perfectly, some monstrous cackling that pokes your wounds, and a breath-taking finish that robs you of your balance. The title track closes the record with dizzying melodies and vocals that sound like they wish to tear flesh. There is some calm midway through the song, where synth rises and causes nightmares to emerge, and then the final minutes ignite anew with metallic charging, incredible melodies cascading, and energetic savagery bringing the record to a close.
Souls of Dissolution are working to get on more people’s radars, and they shouldn’t have any problem achieving that with “These Things We Have Wrought.” The band has the chops, the intensity, and the creativity to pull in listeners from all areas of the extreme metal circle, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here. We already know they can turn heads with their e-mail-centric wit, and luckily their metallic power is just as sharp. Go check out this band if you’re dying for something new and frightening.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Souls-of-Dissolution/151333908374690
To buy the album, go here: https://soulsofdissolution.bandcamp.com/album/these-things-we-have-wrought