Soilent Green - _Sewn Mouth Secrets_
by: Matthias Noll (
We are very, very late with reviewing this record. Frankly, that's my fault, because initially I offered Gino to review it when it came out and then did not deliver. The reason for this is not laziness on my behalf but the fact that _Sewn Mouth Secrets_ is one of the ugliest bastards of a record which ever managed to creep inside my CD player. And as it is painful and irritating to listen to it, it's also no fun at all to review this beast. The impact of this record is like a blunt weapon repeatedly hitting your skull while in between the blows a rabid dog mangles your ankles. Musically, this approach manifests in the various styles incorporated by the band. Crowbar's sluggishness and fusion of Black Sabbath with southern rock meets grindcore meets over-the-top Pantera. On top of that rages singer Ben Falgoust, who alternates between grunts, a 95% Phil Anselmo impersonation, black metal rasping and delirious spoken parts. While a singer with four different styles seems to guarantee the ultimate degree of variety, this turns out to be a two edged blade and one of the reasons why I can't get totally into this record. Far too often does the vocal style follow the music too closely: fast part, rasping vocals; slow part, growls; chaotic part, spoken words. With the variety becoming predictable, this starts to get annoying soon. What turns me off most is the delivery of the spoken sections, which sounds weak, like a drunkard babbling some nonsense above a background of equally senseless noise. These parts can ruin a whole otherwise great song for me. Lyrically, _Sewn Mouth Secrets_ comes across quite disturbing, dealing with rape, torture, depression and other related topics in a frighteningly personal way. The sound is good, heavy and crisp, but there's enough room for improvements the next time around (like Crowbar's _Time Heals Nothing_ in comparison to _Odd Fellows Rest_). I haven't been able to identify any standout tracks on _Sewn Mouth Secrets_ and the heaviness, insanity and intensity is kept on one level through all the tracks, which can be quite exhausting and makes listening to the whole record in one session a challenge. So, if you think that is exactly how you like your metal, this is the record you should buy immediately. With the review being done now, I'll immediately put on _Whisper Supremacy_ to finally relax a bit.
(article published 12/10/1999)
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