Black and Blood
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Death metal to the core
Apart from their sporting icons, Massachusetts musically is well known for the number of metalcore acts that came from that area a few years back – Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains to name a few. But Littleton (MA, USA) quintet Soul Remnants are, thankfully, far from that over saturated and generally overrated genre. I’d like to think the band’s moniker would give at least that much away. These guys have been slogging it out for a decade but with the release of their sophomore effort Black and Blood, things might pick up for the group, because this is an album that is worthy of your attention.
It’s been four years since their debut, Plague of the Universe, hit the shelves and with a couple of line-up changes in place since that time, clearly the band have also evolved in terms of moving outside the pure death metal style of their debut. Black And Blood is quite varied across the nine tracks that comprise this hidden gem of a release.
Of course, there’s still plenty of straight up death metal in what Soul Remnants do. They were never going to leave their Cannibal Corpse like roots behind. It’s only a matter of seconds before Soul Remnants unleash aural hell with Chopwork II which has a very, very distinct Carcass Heartwork era signature throughout. And whilst a lot of the album is full of elements of death metal (from the straight forward bludgeoning approach of Cannibal Corpse to the more technical brutality of Suffocation and Death), touches of grind (a-la Heartwork era Carcass) and blackened thrash, there are still plenty of surprises along the way.
The furious riffs fly thick and fast in killer tracks such as No Afterlife – which features endless time signature changes driven effortlessly by drummer Colin Conway (Death Ray Vision, Cannae) – and the mid paced yet no less brutal The Antifaith, but it’s the epic Dead Black (Heart of Ice) that steals the show by a whisker. The last thing I expected in the middle of this unrelenting assault was a lengthy melodic black metal inspired opus. It’s ominous beauty is reminiscent of Dark Tranquillity’s My Negation although sonically it’s quite different and without a doubt more varied. The sheer diversity of this eight plus minute track is breathtaking as it shifts through different styles with ease.
It’s hard to believe that Soul Remnants will be a band new to many, this writer included. They may wear their influences somewhat proudly on their sleeves and in doing so you know what to expect. Even still, there’s plenty on offer with Black and Blood to appease death metal fans without sounding too much like their heroes. If you can imagine a mix of Carcass, Death, Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse, then Soul Remnants should be on your list of albums to check out.
More from Soul Remnants
- Ouroboros [review]