Soulrest - Chaosophia
Death Metal
10 songs (47'50)
Release year: 2007
Reviewed by Crims

From the Ukraine comes Soulrest with their second full-length: Chaosophia. Before listening to the music I read that Soulrest played Melodic Death Metal and that description might be mis-leading. Most people would likely suspect the band to sound something like Dark Tranquility, In Flames, or perhaps even Dismember to an extent. Essentially, anything with a Gothenburg sound is typically coined Melodic Death, even if the actual music has little in common with Death Metal. All the above would be incorrect in this case and I’m not even sure if I’d call this Melodic Death Metal. Read on to find out why.

There a few key points that makes up the base of Soulrest’s sound. They don’t appear to take their influences from one band, and rather incorporate about 3-4 different, distinct aspects to form their own sound. The best of these influences are excellent Morbid Angel (or Monstrosity, In Dark Purity era) styled riffs. Think the main riff in Where The Slime Live (or for you Monstrosity fans: the theme riff on the classic Perpetual War), but played at different tempos with different melodic progression and you'll get the idea. The best example of this can be heard on Ubbo-Sathla. The band uses this riff style to great effect on only a few songs, regrettably, and I wish they used it more. However, if it formed the basis of every song it might become redundant... I’m not sure. The more commonly found riff style gives off somewhat of a nostalgic Death Metal feeling with memories of Scream Bloody Gore (minus the brutal aggression) and Seven Churches (minus the atmosphere and guitar tone). What was most interesting was the lack of aggression during these guitar parts. The drums seemed to just click along and not do much else to drive along the music. There aren’t really any true blasts or even fast double bass runs. The only time double bass makes an obvious appearance is during the Morbid Angel styled riffs where the double bass keeps a start-stop rhythm with the guitars. To further add to this is acoustic break downs which I honestly found not to enhance any of the songs when used, particularly in From The Depths Of Twilight Mirror. On a more positive note the band occasionally employs somewhat of an 80’s Power Metal style of riffs and harmonizing behind some very melodic solos. I found this aspect of the music to be rather entertaining but it didn’t seem to fit with the feel of the music.

The production on this CD is a classic case of hit or miss. On one hand you have a decent enough rhythm guitar tone that has a certain raw factor along with a cold, almost Black Metal tone to the solos. I have to admit most of the solos are excellent with sometimes 3 or 4 a song. They tend to add a lot texture and feeling to the songs and sound more like something a 80’s Power Metal band might play, to go along with the aforementioned riffs. Naturally this creates a nice contrast since the production doesn’t lend itself to melodic soloing. The drums are where the production really misses. The bass and snare drum have an awful sound to them that sounds really under produced compared to the rest of the CD. I could see this drum sound working in a raw Black Metal band but not in a Death Metal band like this. For the most part it blends in when the guitars are loud but more often than not they are distracting and detract from any kind of atmosphere the rest of the instruments are trying to create. Lastly, the vocals are done in a deep Death Metal style that occasionally turns into a sort of a clean style that is either spoken or has a tortured, distant sound to it. Once again, this is something that I could hear in a Black Metal band but for the most part it works here but rarely is the music behind it doing anything all that interesting.

The main problem is most songs are just build up after build-up with no real ending or proper progression. What I mean is that the songs kind of plod along into a mid-paced rhythm all-too-often and instead of building into something they just start over with something unrelated and the process starts again. Of course, there are exceptions and these are when the melodic build up turns into the Morbid Angel styled riffs or one of the blistering solos. I don’t mind mid-paced Death Metal or Death Metal that tries to do something other than constant blasting or double bass runs but the problem here is the atmosphere is not good enough to justify all the build-up and mid-paced sections, or even the lack of aggression in the supposed fast parts. Part of this is the distracting drum production and the other part is a vocal style, that while good, is not dynamic enough to add to the music. I think Soulrest has the right idea and I see what they are trying to do with their music. They are clearly going for a degree of atmosphere in their Death Metal which is made apparent by very subtle keyboards in the background and a couple of Septic Flesh styled background chants. However, the music really needs more cohesion and I think they should use the often-mentioned Morbid Angel riffs more often as those gave the best pay-off to the progression and are when the songs really grabbed my interest. As it stands right now there is too much, “stop this riff, lets start building up something else, then stop that riff before it gets anywhere, and start something else… ad naseum” going on here for me to really recommend this CD. I will say Soulrest is worth keeping an eye on as there are enough good ideas and quality individual riffs to the form basis of something grander. I will also mention that this is a self-released CD which makes many of the production faults and lack of song cohension understandable; and also means the bands has lots of potential to grow.

Killing Songs :
Ubbo-Sathla, The Voice Of Hastur, Calling Forth The Lord Of The Gate
Crims quoted 70 / 100
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