Solstice
Casting the Die

This is not the same Solstice, who are from the UK and play incredible epic and heavy doom, no this is the death/thrashy bastids who originated from Florida in the 90’s.  About a decade ago I reviewed the excellent compilation Pray for the Sentencing which included their first 2 outstanding albums – I reviewed that for the site I used to write for allabouttherock.uk.  In 2009 their third full-length To Dust was released and kinda flew under the radar, but not by this guy – yet another great album.

A few years back they played at MDF and they crushed it and did a monstrous Demolition Hammer cover.  The funny thing about the pit during the set was – have you ever heard of furries?  Well they’re individuals who dress up in animal costumes, cosplay and well…not my thing, but to each their own.  Anyway, there were 2 furries, one of them in a horse outfit and another in a unicorn outfit – both equipped with full head coverings.  They must have been high on some shit.  Anyway they started going into the pit and because they could not see well, through the masks, would repeatedly fall down in the pit, plus they were super thin and were getting tossed around like yesterday’s trash – hysterical!  Ok, so this review is not about fucking furries but about the fourth Solstice album – Casting the Die.  Since their last album, there have been some line-up shifts.  Marcel Salas is the new bassist and Ryan Taylor is now their vocalist/guitarist.  Rounding out the band is of corpse longstanding guitarist Dennis Munoz and longtime and personal fave drummer, Alex Marquez.  11 songs in 41 minutes – so let’s cut to the chase with some guest appearances from Rob Barrett and Tony Choy, as well.

“The Altruist” starts off and Ryan has more of a thrash vocal style, which is a little growly at times, but the vocals fit, at times I would have liked some deeper vocals, but whateves, he is very aggressive in his approach – Bonus!  The song starts with vintage brutal death/thrashing madness that Solstice has always been known for.  A little while later some monster blast beating, then guitar soloing and the bass plucking production is exceptional.  The guitar tone is perfect and yes – this sounds like Solstice, folks.  Crunchy and razor sharp guitar tone.  “Ignite” starts aggressive and Ryan, the more I think of it, sounds a bit like Tony Foresta from Municipal Waste.  Anyway, the song thrashes our soul apart, nice little ditty of a guitar solo, nice mid-paced moments as well.

Before you can catch your breath, “Outlast”, the shortest song on the album, starts immediately with the Holy Shit Alex “I Maul Drums to Death” Marquez, ferocious blast beat.  Simply put the opening for “Outlast” is intense.  The song slows a bit then a stop/start drumming then goes into a mid-paced moment then the Solstice signature death/thrash beat.  Monster vocals and the riffing-yes…so on point, it’s to the point of being ridiculous.  Then back to the blast beat, then the song settles down a bit and the groove is infectious.  More blast beats and death/thrashing madness and let’s not forget about the bass plucking, it gave me a few stiches from all that plucky shit.

The title track is excellent and opening moments seems as if it’s an homage to the classic Kreator song “Betrayer”.  You will notice it once the song immediately begins.  Then the song goes into a crushing blast beat, that will rip your head off and shove it down one of the assholes throats who was putting gasoline in bags recently, during the east coast gas shortage.  F that asshole.  Anyway, more blasts and mid-paced moments and above average and classic metal soloing going on.  Yet another great song.

Casting the Die is excellently produced.  The double bass drum sound, for one, collapsed houses in my neighborhood and caused some massive sinkholes.  The guitars, bass, vocals and the tight snare drum sound all come together to form a classic sounding Solstice album.  Has enough of their early 90’s Floridian sound, mixed in with enough new ideas to keep things nostalgic, yet still modern.  My only real gripe, and it’s more subjective than anything else is the album cover.  I really enjoy the intention of it, you know man looking in the mirror and sees all his demons, maybe past and present-yes very cool concept.  However; the artwork is a bit bush league and very cartoony – but you know that classic Solstice logo is plastered on the cover so maybe I’m being a little picky – you be the judge.  When it comes to the music, songwriting, catchiness and aggressiveness, well folks Solstice have fucking killed it with this album.  I cannot stop listening to it.  Buy or Die!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 24th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: Don

    solos on this are killer …vocals seem more fit for a hardcore band and yes ..that artwork seems a little low budget …should have got Ed Repka to do it !


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