Sound: Soilent Green has been around for a very long time and has been credited with spreading much influence in the NOLA sludge scene with their debut album and demos. They used to play a form of death metal that was hybridised with sludge passages but it's evolved up till this point into a blend between heavy blues-scaled grindcore and crunching sludge. Inevitable Collapse In The Presence Of Conviction (despite being a mouthful) is an unsurprisingly short album of pure southern metal. Coupled with groove, fantastically addictive riffs and face mashing speed/pounding slowness, the Green have hit a rather ridiculous nail with a big hammer.
One big thing about this album is the riffs. As mentioned, blues scales are a big part of Brian Patton's (guitars, also of Eyehategod) playing style and he uses the most widely accepted sludge/doom tuning which is C# standard. To create the beefy sound of the riffs, he uses .60 gauge strings to make a chunky, fat sound (and to make his playing that bit more impressive, the cheap so-and-so). Tommy Buckley (drums/percussion) is a solid drummer, preferring his sludge grooves over grindcore blast beats but doing both in a fresh manner coupled with occasional offbeat time signatures and tempo shifts. Scott Crotchet (what a name...) is a good bassist counterpart to Patton's guitar playing and has one huge low end that beefs up the guitar. Also featured throughout moments in the album is some use of country styled guitar and even some banjo which just enhances the southern feel of the music. // 8
Lyrics: Vocals are handled by none other than Ben Falgoust of Goatwhore infamy (and to some extent, insult punching bag). He brings his punkish-hardcore bark which works unsurprisingly well with the whole sludge/grind thing. Some say he might even just blend in entirely.. yes, despite Soilent Greens solid musicianship, Falgoust's vocals fit in well, work for about 5 or 6 songs and eventually start to become 'lost in the mix' so to speak and lose their impact. There's times where he reverts to a more death-growl type vocal but these moments are fleeting, although they do help to break up the monotonous delivery of his barking. Lyrically, I can't really fault the band on this front. They're not sheepishly generic or hard to understand, and despite Falgoust's voice, he is about 80% intelligible when you listen to him growling. Taken from the song 'Antioxidant':
At the point of impact, check your pulse
Around this time, all hell will be breaking loose
Pry these praying fingers from Gods unfaithful stance
Done all that you could but you still might have a chance
Most lyrical themes in Soilent Greens music are abusive/distressed relationships, drug abuse and that old punk chestnut, hate. Sure, nothing new, but somewhat renewed lyrically.
Another (rather obvious) trait of Soilent Green is the use of veeery odd song title names. For example, 'A Pale Horse and the Story of the End' and 'All This Good Intention Wasted in the Wake of Apathy' are just two from this album with complex and long names. // 7
Overall Impression: As a whole, grind/sludge is an incredibly small hybrid that (as far as I'm aware) only Soilent Green (and the extinct English band Mistress) have every played. Another similar band to take note of is The Destro who have a similar sound.
After listening to their music video to 'Antioxidant' I was instantly hooked by this incredibly catchy riff from 0:38 to 0:57 which just made me get the album. After about halfway through the album though, it sort of became samey. To use a tortured analogy, it's like jam spread on buttered toast: Inevitable Collapse In The Presence Of Conviction has big tasty lumps here and there but mostly its spread a bit thinly and doesn't last as long as you want it to. The same could be said for the song structure. While the blues-riffs and grooves are sweet and tasty, there isn't as many of them as I'd have liked. If we stick with the toast analogy, it's like biting into oily melted butter hoping for a patch of jam. Soilent Green IS people, talented people who just sort of missed the mark. Instead of hitting the bullseye, they hit the red ring.
Songs to look out for: 'Antioxidant', 'In The Same Breath', 'Blessed In The Arms of Servitude', 'Lovesick', 'Rock/Paper/Scissors', 'All This Good Intention Wasted In The Wake of Apathy', 'For Lack Of Perfect Words', 'When All Roads Lead to Rome'. // 7