Solus - _Universal Bloodshed_
(Skinmask, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (9 out of 10)
Solus have really hit the jackpot on this second outing put out, once again on their own label, Skinmask. Finding "your" sound is not always an easy thing to do, but Solus have found it and have already jumped the next hurdle with _Universal Bloodshed_: knowing how to manipulate it to your greatest advantage. _Slave of Mind_ literally pales in comparison; it had rage for sure, but _Universal Bloodshed_ has poise, melancholy, melody and, most importantly, emotion. This is not to say this is some touchy-feely goth-tinged album, it is about as much the antithesis as anything else. No, the emotion here is like the emotion of Rollins, early Metallica or Morbid Angel; it has fury. The basis of the music is deathly thrash with Korbut's vocals displaying a varied and vicious spectrum while also totally crushing many competitors. This foundation is rock-solid to the extent where the band now feel able to build onto it unusual structures which massively enhance its ability to draw the listener in, and satiate them mercilessly. The soloing on a track like "Wormwood" is far away from the standard insane widdling of many brutal bands; it has had thought or emotion put into it and the result is something which really affects you, instead of just glazing over you. The bands most worked-in and important aspect, though, which I think may become a trademark of sorts, is what happens in certain sections of songs like "Rivers of Red" and "Quilt of Shame". Working undercover of brutal, heavy and powerful riff-lines, vague and melancholic melodies give the feel of the music a new dimension to play with, and get me going like nothing else in the process. There is even success in coming out with an acoustic and clean sung track which doesn't sound out of place, a feat on such a brutal album. It is a pity that the excellent "Magadan", from their taster _Our Frosted Hell_ EP [reviewed as _Solus_, CoC #32] is not here, backed by the production of Rob Sanzo (a far superior sound to that of the EP), but this is a small gripe about what is a very good record and one I fully recommend acquiring as quickly as possible.

(article published 7/7/1999)

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9/1/1998 P Schwarz Brutal Truth / Kataklysm / Solus / The Swarm True Brutality Under Extreme Conditions
5/13/1997 A Wasylyk Obliveon / Blood of Christ / Solus Obliterating Obsolescence
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