Solium Fatalis
Genetically Engineered to Enslave

I dug the second album, The Undying Season, from this US based melodic death metal band, but for some reason never checked out the follow up, 2016s Neuronic Saw. Maybe  because it didn’t have the big name power of Oliver Pinnard (Neuraxis, Vengeful) or drumming royalty FLo Mournier or Dirk Verbueren like its its predecessors did, it didn’t  get as much press or promotion . Or maybe i just missed it.

Well, founders Jeff Demarco and Jim Gregory have forged ahead with no superstar names on their fourth album with relative unknown (comparatively speaking of course)  Jeff Saltzman taking over on drums, but it does not make any difference as Genetically Engineered to Enslave is a goddamn monster of an album.

When I say melodic death metal, I don’t mean wispy, dancing Dark Tranquility or typical Gothenburg tones, but a super beefed up, chunky style more akin to Hypocrisy or Illdisposed. If Suffocation or Cryptopsy were to play melodic death metal, and have more raspy higher register vocals,  this is what is would sound like.  First off, the production/mix/master (also with Cryptopsy ties), giving everything a truly massive sound and commanding presence. Second, the song writing is pretty damn solid.

The 10 songs mix it up with a various array of more urgent uptempo numbers like the opening duo of “Threshold” and “Lake of Extinction” and “Fiery the Angels Fell” or more controlled, steady lurchers, and this is where the band really shines as the likes of “Servile”, “Synthon” ,”Dysmorphic” “Chemical Reagent” and closer ” A Tongue to Taste the Collapse” bring  thunderous, mid paced, double bass romps to the fray with neck snapping satisfaction and heft. Even the band’s cover of Epidemic’s “Factor Red” from the  1992 album, Decameron, already a stout thrash track, is turned into a monstrous, loping, grooving behemoth of a song.

The band try their hand st some more atmospheric hues in the 6 minute “A Gathering of Storms” featuring some well used female vocals amid a more rangy, doomy structure and “Chemical Reagent” adds some acoustics to the sturdy, burly chug, but both work well as the track still rely on that huge production and big, authoritative,  commanding riffs, that make the entire album a big, smile inducing, neck snapping effort.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 28th, 2018


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