Soulburn - _Feeding on Angels_
(Century Media, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (5 out of 10)
Well, if the press release hadn't emphasized the fact that Soulburn was 2/3 Asphyx, I would have expected the kind of boring cliched music that the cover, name and title suggested and the disc demonstrated. As it was, I was interested to see what the Asphyx guys were doing and had some expectations. From beginning to end, however, I can find absolutely nothing outstanding about this album. I don't even like the production. The attempt seems to have been (and this was hinted at by the PRs decision to include a list of classic death metal influences) to create that hard, razor edged sound that gives classic early thrashers like _Morbid Tales_ and _Pleasure to Kill_ their charm. However, _Feeding On Angels_'s production, in attempt to recreate that sound, seems to have taken a wrong turn and ultimately resulted in weak drums, scratching guitars, monotone vocals and a rather thin atmosphere. As I hinted at, Soulburn write some extremely simple, though long and rather tedious, mid-paced death metal, a la Celtic Frost, tunes which blend into each other and produce only short parts which are seriously worth the time. I do make it sound worse than it is. Had _FOA_ been released at the time its songs reflect and it would have been just one more average album in a burgeoning and confusing scene. Now we have the reflection to reap many of the best crops at leisure, we know what is good, we don't need a new band reminding us of all the rip-off mediocrity that was around. Usurper get away with a lot of retro-isms because they do it brilliantly and throw in enough techniques and twists that are new to create a sound which reflects changes since the early 80s; Soulburn are just digging up old corpses which should have been left to rot.

(article published 8/7/1998)

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