Solstice - Solstice
Century Media
Death/Thrash Metal
9 songs (32:46)
Release year: 1992
Century Media
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Heard the one about the awesome Death/Thrash band made up out of past and future members of Cannibal Corpse, Demolition Hammer, Malevolent Creation and Cynic? Wait, you haven’t? Then get yourself down the rare Metal shop, my good man, and find yourself a copy of the debut album of these guys! Solstice, not the British Doomers but a Floridian genre mashup which burst out of nowhere in 1990, released two kickass albums and vanished, and whilst they got together again recently I doubt that they’ll manage anything as great as they did at the start of their career. In some ways, their music is a mixture of those bands mentioned above, with the exception of Cynic – bassist Mark van Erp played on their first two demos, far from the later Jazzed-up sounds of Focus. Instead, Solstice focuses on Death/Thrash ferocity, brutal necksnapping riffs and coruscating vocals tearing through your cerebral cortex leaving you paralysed by the presence of awesomeness. I’ve always enjoyed bands that mix Death and Thrash in the old-school way, as they always seem to overcome each genre’s failings and create a catchy, vibrant, alive whole.

All of the members are clearly skilled, even the aforementioned van Erp who generally is lost in the thrashing madness but has moments of his own. The real kudos, however, must go to vocalist/guitarist Rob Barrett, currently ripping flesh for Cannibal Corpse, and his silent shredmate Dennis Munoz of the sadly underrated Demolition Hammer. Between them, they crank out a terrific performance, riffs flying like shrapnel whilst Barrett’s NY growl urges you onwards to destruction. It says a lot that James Murphy’s guest solos on this album are barely notable – as great as the man is, so good is the surrounding music that his contribution doesn’t stand out. Even if you’re generally used to the style of music, Solstice will be something special, it’s a perfect example of the subgenre done at its best, technical, intense and energetic without pause or fail.

The only low point is a mid-album Carnivore cover, punk sloppiness good in its own right but not really fitting in with the rest of the album. Surrounding it, though, is undeniable excellence. The album kicks off with Transmogrified, a clattering surge of almost Bolt Thrower-esque intensity, a twisting song structure needing multiple listens to really ‘get’ but absolute fun all the time. Cleansed Of Impurity follows, a Pestilence-ial downpour of aggressive riffage topped off by Sepulturaean roughness, and Eternal Waking is even better, as choppy and violent as a nutter with a butcher’s knife. Moments of melody such as the solo in the latter are perfectly placed, and serve to make the ensuing bloodshed even more effective. Few tracks stray from the formula overall, aside from the aforementioned cover and the slower, more atmospheric opening to Netherworld complete with synths, a nice step away from the band’s comfort zone towards Obituary-style darkness. Of course, all the tracks are unique in their own little way – you can’t not love the lightspeed rage of Survival Reaction – and fans of both Death and Thrash Metal will be bowled over by this. Note the Repka artwork for bonus points!

Killing Songs :
Transmogrified, Cleansed Of Impurity, Eternal Waking, Netherworld, Cataclysmic Outburst
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Solstice that we have reviewed:
Solstice - New Dark Age reviewed by Dee and quoted 64 / 100
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