Following a split release earlier this year, Canada’s Solanum have returned with their first full-length record: “Into The Sinner Circle”. Things have been tightened up a bit since then, making this album an effective thrashing that is sure to incite furious headbanging. As you may have guessed, this album is an endless cacophony of riffs, each one being more visceral than the last. Though Solanum’s overall sound is more comparable to crossover acts, many of their riffs are also straight ahead thrash, providing flashbacks to a record like “Darkness Descends”. One great example is at the end of “Strangled By Disease”, where there is an insane breakdown riff that is probably the highlight of the entire record.
The crossover elements previously noted are most evident in the vocals. Solanum’s singer takes the hardcore approach of yelling like a madman, often at insane speeds. In contrast to this, however, the songs are pretty long, which makes “Into The Sinner Circle” a lot less vocal-driven than other similar sounding records. Nevertheless, the band manages to write parts that are easy to latch onto. One such example is the chorus of the opening track, “P.T.S.D.”, which, unsurprisingly, consists of the band’s singer yelling out those 4 letters in convincing succession. Screaming along to the title of “Symptoms of Solanum” is equally compelling.
One thing that catapults “Into The Sinner Circle” ahead of much of the competition is the bass playing. Yes, it is loud and audible, but that alone isn’t what makes it great. Instead, it is the fact that Solanum’s bass player always seems to pop out at the perfect moment, sometimes with a small fill, but also just to play a bit higher than the low rumble that dominates the rest of the songs. This approach complements the maniacal vocals and riffs.
“Into The Sinner Circle” is a cool release because it takes relatively common thrash themes and combines them in a unique way. Crossover/hardcore elements typically tend to dominate releases like this with short songs and politically charged lyrics, but Solanum instead adds punky elements to a more standard thrash approach, and the result is incredibly effective. Relative to the band’s previous release, this album shows a marked improvement, and is certainly a worthy purchase.
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"Strangled By Disease"
"Symptoms of Solanum"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott