Artist: Soul Embraced
Album: Dead Alive
Label: Solid State Records
Review by: Jason B
I like music and lyrics that tell a story. I’ve always been a fan of records that, when listening to them, give the listener a feeling that they are partaking of something bigger than just a cd: records that seem to take individuals on a journey. Such is the case with “Dead Alive”, the latest release from Soul Embraced.
Firstly, what stands out the most is the production quality in comparison to other releases from the band. One of my big gripes with some of the earlier metal releases from Solid State, particularly past releases from Soul Embraced, had to do with the production value. Such is not the case with “Dead Alive”. In fact, it’s top-notch. Finally, listeners have a Soul Embraced record where everything sounds exactly the way that it should sound from a production standpoint. For example, on previous releases from the band certain songs would feature guitar parts or drum parts, even vocals that sounded off in comparison with the other parts in the song. If nothing else, the production quality on previous Soul Embraced records would always seem to come up short in comparison with other metal bands during the time period of release for their past cd’s. Not so this time around. Everything is featured blaring perfectly through whatever system you choose to pump this record through.
You want metal? You’ve got metal. Soul Embraced cuts no corners on this one, giving the listener a meaty, hearty, helping of punch-you-in-the-mouth-meat-and-potatoes metal. The music hits hard and it does so from the beginning. Heavy guitar riffs, raspy/gutteral/hissing vocals, Mega Man-esque guitar solos, and pounding double bass pedals fill the brunt of the record. There are even moments that are reminiscent to a smooth guitar riff that could be found on any Guns and Roses record. Such is the case within the bridge of “Crawl” which features a slick guitar riff that rhythmically moves and pounds the listener before climactically cascading back into the chorus. Another soft moment is on the beautiful acoustic track “In Memory” which seems like it’s been placed on the record with the sole purpose of relaxing the listener and allowing them to breathe before destroying them on the next track.
After listening to the new Soul Embraced, I have to say in an unequivocal manner that this is metal done right. The music is in your face and it makes no apologies. Basically, what I’m saying is that it speaks for itself and stands on its own. The cd is nothing short of greatness. It’s the best release from Soul Embraced to date and it hearkens back to the days when Zao, Living Sacrifice, and Extol dominated the Solid State roster. And not to be a downer on the new breed but, as they say, those were the good ol’ days.
Standout tracks: Curtain of Deceit, The Devils Reflection, Crawl, Into Darkness
p.s.-how about we get a METAL tour featuring Living Sacrifice, Becoming the Archetype, The Famine and Soul Embraced?