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Black And Blood

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions (2013)
Rating: 6.5/10

Despite the brutal nature of this record, Soul Remnants are about as bland as their moniker unfortunately. This Littleton, Massachusetts combo delight themselves by indulging in a rampant style of blackened death metal which combines an old school style of riffing with a rather abrasive modern touch. All manner of classic thrash and death metal bands can be heard as influences, from Slayer to that ferocious Swedish 90s scene of bands, and to some of the Floridian masters from the early 90s.

The result is a rather violent record that boasts roaring vocals, a potent drum sound and some classy soloing, but for the most part I’m unmoved by its deranged aesthetics. There are some nice touches of Immolation-styled weight here, but the likes of opener ‘Chopwork II’ and the flailing ‘Cauldron Of Blood’ flash by like a speeding train, catching me in its wake but then releasing me all too quickly to cause any damage.

For the most part, Black And Blood is a fast, aggressive record and a heavy one at that, but there’s nothing on offer here that enables the band to stand out from so many similar sounding bands. Blackened death metal is certainly on the increase but much of it, despite its forceful attitude with often maniacal leads and savage drumming, can be quite bland. This is certainly an album for those who love frothing riffs, but a track such as ‘Incinerator’ I can take with a pinch of salt, such is its bland extremity.

The band do have one cool card up their sleeve, and that is their ability to slow the pace and become a far more lethal proposition. But all too many times, such as on ‘Symptoms Of Death’, the combo clearly feel the need to revert back to type, and unadulterated speed. This track, alongside the occasionally subtle ‘Dead Black (Heart Of Ice)’, does attempt some type of variety amid the brutality, but it rarely lasts. ‘Dead Black (Heart Of Ice)’ is certainly the pivotal track on the record, though; clocking in at eight minutes, it injects some intriguing effects and softer passages. However, we’re soon back on the hyper trail with ‘Rape Casket’ and ‘No Afterlife’, both of which showcase some incredible guitar work and complexity.

On the whole though, Black And Blood – in spite of its malevolence – falls short of becoming an often played album within the blackened death metal genre.

Neil Arnold

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