Soul Remnants - Black and BloodWhen going to pick my next album to review I decided to pick a band I was unfamiliar with. When receiving the list of albums to review I realized this is not a hard chore to accomplish due to the fact there are hundreds of bands to choose from. I couldn’t tell you what compelled me to pick Soul Remnants‘ “Black and Blood,” since this was the first time I had ever heard of them. I started to do some research and found out that the death metal quintet, hailing from Littleton, Massachusetts, formed in 2003. Their first album, “Plague of the Universe” was released in 2009. What really piqued my interest while reading was how Soul Remnants‘ sound was being compared to heavy metal titans such as Cannibal Corpse, Carcass and Suffocation, which in my opinion is a great thing, so expectations were high as I pushed play on my iPod.

After listening to “Back and Blood,” I had to take some time to put out the fire in my eardrums. Bursting right out of the gate, ‘Chopwork II,’ a sequel the previous album, and ‘Cauldron of Blood’ sound like twin cyclones ripping a path of destruction through your skull, with fierce technical riffs thanks to guitarists Tom Preziosi and Chad Fisher. Colin Conway leads the way with powerful warp speed drumming on ‘Incinerator.’ Today I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out who this year drums as fast, and also sounds as great, and I keep coming up with the same answer: No One! The pacing for ‘Symptoms of Death’ starts out slower, during the first forty seconds I was able to catch my breath from the previous tracks. But hold on, that first drop is a doozy, as it took off at break neck speed for the rest of the ride.

Halfway through the album, Soul Remnants throws in a curve ball with ‘Dead Black (Heart of Ice),’ a song which illustrates the band’s ability to shift through different metal genres with ease. It starts off with a melodic opening before charging into an black metal tempo, which slips into a peaceful acoustic piece with Ryan Murphy‘s bass break, before delivering beautiful guitar solos fused with an melodic death finish. It is easily my favorite song on the album. ‘Rape Casket’ and ‘No Life’ strike with more raging death metal tempos with pummeling guitar riffs. I can not go on without mentioning vocalist Mitchell Fletcher. Throughout the album he ranges from the sinister deep growling clarity of ‘The Antifaith,’ to the savage distortion of ‘Symptoms of Death.’ The last track, ‘Reanimation,’ starts out with Ryan Murphy‘s ear catching bass chords which leads into bloodthirsty riffs with a killer solo topping it all off.

In the end, this reviewer was pleased to connect with a band I had no prior knowledge of. I’m also happy that I didn’t let “Black and Blood” fall through the cracks, as it is a well crafted blackened death album which I enjoyed listening to very much. If you’re a fan of this genre, do yourself a favor and check it out. Now, where did I put my fire extinguisher? My ears are starting to smoke again.

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