Sol Sistere dump boatload of riffs, dangerous melodies into ‘Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum’

Sol SistereI’ve been on this tangent before, but it’s tough as a music writer to sift through all the promos that weigh down my inbox, listen to as much as I can, and pick the ones I want to feature. That also answers the question that’s been posed to me many times as to why this site doesn’t feature negative reviews. The idea is to cull all of the bands and records I think warrant attention and boil each week’s offerings down into four or five features. I could do an entire site based on bad shit in my inbox. Trust me.

Anyway, from time to time albums elude me, likely because I’m not on a publicist’s or label’s mailing list, and I end up doing some discoveries on my own, which is actually a lot of fun. I had that happen again with “Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum,” the debut record from Chilean black metal band Sol Sistere, out on Hammerheart Records. I do see promos from them from time to time, but this one didn’t make it my way. But I went to the label’s Bandcamp with other intentions, sampled this album, and was blown the eff away. This is one exciting record from start to finish from a band that deserves to get a ton of attention, especially from those who like their black metal melodic, atmospheric, and packed with enough riffs to defeat the zombie Mountain.

Sol Sistere coverSol Sistere only got their start as a band three years ago, releasing an EP “I” in 2014, and now coming in with their first full-length effort. The band—guitarist/vocalist C (formerly of Animus Mortis), guitarist Ricardo Araya (also of Cathar Eclipse), bassist Juan Diaz (also of Bauda), drummer Pablo Vera (also formerly of Animus Mortis, as well as Anima Inmortalis)—combines their myriad experiences elsewhere to create this destructive unit that packs a ton of power and passion into their music. Yes, a lot of bands go the atmospheric black metal route these days, but these guys stand apart. They’re not trying to make you daydream. They are instead filling your head of explosive imagery and fiery chaos that should ignite your dead heart and make you feel your purpose in life.

The record opens with “Death Knell,” a cold, airy cut at first before it rips apart, and the pace begins to devastate. The riffs are mighty and thrashing here, as they are so many places on this album, and C’s wild cries deliver a punishing salvo, one that keeps at the throat up until the song’s fire finally burns off. “Relentless Ascension” has guitars fluttering before taking charge of the mission, with glorious melodies arriving in abundance. The tempo feels like a great storm hanging overhead, later going cold and murky, only to emerge from the other side with a cathartic blast of energy. “Deliver Us” bursts from the gates, with riffs blasting all over the place and creaked growls leaving bruises. The track feels equally guttural and overwhelmingly powerful, with the emotion shaking your insides. “Sight of the Oracle” bleeds in with a thick bassline and more huge melodies bursting from the seams. C roars heavily over this thing, with the guitars simmering in some places, burning and churning in others, with the track’s final moments crackling away only after leaving serious burns.

“Degraded Soul” has a clean opening, teasing serenity, but it’s not long before the doors are stormed and the assault is on. The song is mid-paced but heavy as hell for a large portion of its run, with gruff vocals, infectious melodies, and later a breath of calm before the molten steel is poured out all over again. “Towards the Morning Star” is an instrumental cut built with clean playing, thick, moody strings, and a murky ambiance that unleashes thick servings of darkness. “6th Replicant” just explodes, with riffs tidal waving toward you, and the drums rumbling especially aggressively. The tempo turns a little gazey at points, letting spacey magic rain down, but this mostly instrumental (there are some beastly howls toward the end) cut later spills blood again and comes to a thunderous conclusion. Closer “Seeker of Souls” boils at first before spilling over and letting the pace get raucous. The track mauls for a while, with the vocals feeling feral, but also creaky in spots. Later C warbles his words, almost like Tom G Warrior at his gothy best, and the track then hits a dangerous gallop, finishing up in a pit of melting riffs.

I don’t do nearly enough random digging online because, as noted, inbox. But now and again unearthing something I may not have found otherwise, such as Sol Sistere’s debut “Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum,” makes all that investigative work worthwhile. This is an electrifying, world-toppling record, and its constant rotation in my ears the rest of the year is as given.

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