SOLSTICE - The Sentencing (REPULSIVE ECHO - LP 2014)
There are several labels nowadays, which specialize in re-releasing all those old demos / old albums – and damn, I have nothing against that phenomenon, since a lot of these reissues turned out simply awesome. Not all of course, as sometimes they reissue stuff, which I think is not worthy and not interesting for me or the quality of the reissue is too fuckin poor – but that’s always individual opinion. Anyway, recently in Greece a new such record label has been formed, called Repulsive Echoes. Their first release, which I bought was an awesome classic demo of Diabolic “City of the Dead” – very well done vinyl version of this old US death metal crusher. And later a second vinyl came out, with another old US death metal squadron called Solstice with their legendary debut full length album, here in this version titled “The Sentencing” (originally simply called “Solstice” and released in 1992 on CD). This vinyl release was surely something that die hard death metal maniacs and fans of this album have been waiting for years – there were some different CD versions, but never LP. So, great idea from Repulsive Echoes to make this dream real! The pressing as limited to 500 copies (with three different colour versions), all sold out by now, as far as I know… So, happy I am to have one copy! And this LP is very well released. Great quality print, nice poster, awesome sound. Definitely it’s worth all the trouble and money and will not disappoint the maniacs!
I must say that I haven’t heard Solstice debut album for years. I used to have it on cassette, I had one of those Polish pirates, but that was almost 20 years ago he! And last time I listened to “Solstice” was probably in the late 90’s. I admit also that I basically forgot about their existence and was reminded about them only few years ago. So, I played this beautiful vinyl and listened to this album first time in such a long time… and damn! It didn’t grow old at all! It still sounds so fuckin killer and brutal! And I am sure that whoever out there have never heard this band and this album, but he loves such classic US death metal masterpieces like “Retribution”, “Beyond the Unknown”, “Embalmed Existence”, “Imperial Doom”, “Tortured Existence” or “Dying Remains” then he will also love “The Sentencing”! Malevolent Creation and Resurrection would be my main comparisons here; and I mean such aspects as the production (typical heavy and thick Florida sound), dense, technical playing, intense riffs and great vocals – performed by Rob Barrett, who you surely know from Cannibal Corpse and Malevolent Creation and who turned out to be not only a great guitar player, but also impressive vocalist, whose vocals sound close to such Brett Hoffmann. More so, Alex Marquez played drums on the album, so he’s another proof that there won’t be any weak stuff.
The album contains eight crushing and thrashing death metal songs plus one cover, which is also the only part of the record, which I am not so much fond of. It is a cover of Carnivore, who I never been into, I don’t like such music, so in the past I did not like this song and now, when I know it is Carnivore cover it still doesn’t speak to me. But the rest of the album is superb quality, slightly thrashing, but brutal and intense, technical death metal, with such great tracks like “Transmogrified” or “Netherworld”. Powerful stuff, which simply must be played loud, so you can feel its energy and intensity. The vinyl plays wonderfully, I have no objections at all, so… I would recommend you getting this LP, but it is too late now hehe! But maybe you’ll get lucky and get a copy on some internet auctions, maybe you’ll find a CD… whatever, but this album must be in your collection, if any bands or titles I mentioned in this review are your thing! And keep your eyes open for the upcoming releases of Repulsive Echo – Gutted, Oppressor (US)… Damn!
Standout tracks: “Transmogrified”, “Netherworld”.
Final rate: 85/100