Solace and Stable – The Systematic Erosion of Integrity

Solace and Stable return with an intelligent and often intricate second LP; The Systematic Erosion of Integrity – Which shouldn’t be much a surprise… Much of what works here also worked to great effect on 2009’s Adaptation and the Seclusive Remedy (a debut well respected around these parts). This is riff-driven melodic death metal that (pretty skillfully) weaves in and out of the modern tropes that most current trendsters base their sounds around. Despite Solace and Stable’s participation in the vogue of metalcore paraphernalia, the band’s compositions never feel indebted to it. If it’s familiar, that’s because it is – In as much as there is clearly a healthy affection towards a highly stylistic field of music that often has been made to seem depleted by many more bands.

But if the newer, groovier (and criminally mislabeled as ‘proggy’) school of metalcore smacks of immaturity and tackiness for most other bands, on Systematic it feels powerful and vital. In part that’s because the work here is not a slave to rhythm (modern commercial metal has more in common with dubstep these days than anything else)… Which brings me to my primary criticism that I’ll quickly usher out of the way; there’s enough in the bass and drums department to highlight some neat bits of writing and texture, but the groove can often feel static and enclosed – Which is great for thrash and many moments on this record benefit from that, but some of Gabe Fry‘s more evolving, long-form riffs could benefit from a looser style in the rhythm.

“American Beauty” reminds me of later Anata (that’s great), and “Culture of Corruption” has such a forceful stomp that proves dynamic between notes high and low will always trump novelties such as added guitar strings when it comes to the realms of all-out heaviness. Systematic should be especially exciting to you if you, like me, appreciate a modern metal record that lets its riffs guide the songwriting in place of literal one-note grooves.

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