Album Review – Soulwound / No Peace (2016)

This berserk quintet from Finland brings forward absolutely no peace with their high-end assault of visceral Death and Thrash Metal.

Rating4

soulwound-cover640Carrying a robust and ominous name taken from a Fear Factory bonus song from the limited edition of their 1998 classic album Obsolete, Finnish Death/Thrash Metal group Soulwound are releasing their second opus entitled No Peace, offering fast, brutal, heavy and aggressive metal music with both old school and more contemporary influences, picking up where their 2013 debut full-length album Seeing Red left off. While listening to No Peace, you’ll find hints of the unique sonority crafted by Sepultura, the sonic havoc brought forth by Testament, the intricate and thunderous beats by Slayer, among other elements from several Thrash Metal giants, all enhanced by the band’s own Death Metal touch. In other words, if you’re looking for soft and romantic music, forget about Soulwound, as they’re among us to crush and destroy.

Forged in the fires of the small village of Myllykoski in Kouvola, Finland (located around 130 kilometers northeast of the capital Helsinki) by brothers Niko (guitar) and Janne Huusari (drums) in 2005, and having released a few demos before Seeing Red became a reality in 2013 with Arto Jauho stepping in as the band’s vocalist, Soulwound’s current lineup took form in 2014 when Mikko, the youngest of the Huusari brothers, joined the band as their second guitarist, resulting in all three brothers playing in the same band. And it’s perhaps that family unity that helped Soulwound achieve such a high level of professionalism in a short span of time, sounding like long-serving defenders of extreme music.

An eerie female voice explaining what impulsive aggression is makes the Fear Factory-inspired metallic Intro: Impulsive Aggression one of those creepy album starts that enfolds the listener before the neck-breaking Hurt Me Plenty kicks off, which despite showcasing lots of modern elements added to its background, in essence it’s old school visceral Death Metal. Moreover, while Arto fires his potent harsh growls, Janne delivers an avalanche of groovy and fierce beats and fills for the delight of lovers of the genre. As violent as the opening track but slightly heavier due to the kick-ass riffs by the guitar brothers Niko and Mikko (as well as the low-tuned sounds by bassist Joni Järvenmäki), Altars of Skin feels like a hybrid of Cavalera Conpiracy and Fear Factory with a Scandinavian twist, translating into pure awesomeness, whereas Alone Against All brings forward high-octane Death Metal highly influenced by the rebellious sound of Bay Area Thrash. Its sick guitar solos and endless amount of electricity turn it into one of the best moments of the album, being strongly recommended as the soundtrack for some insane circle pits.

p7172350-02Wasteland is yet another flawless Thrash Metal tune with elements from Sepultura, Slayer and Testament, in special the boisterous drumming by Janne and the visceral growls by Arto, and if you love darkened music emanating pure hatred you’ll have a complete blast listening to this superb tune. Then it’s time for more of Soulwound’s headbanging music with some menacing voices in the background before Anto comes gnarling like a beast in Crime and Punishment, which albeit slower than the previous songs it showcases some great riffage by both Niko and Mikko; followed by Misery Index with its berserk rhythm powered by huge dosages of anger. This is one of those songs the band wrote with their minds on their live performances due to its “festival potential”, also exhibiting some excellent guitar solos and a demented ending.

Hate Speech sounds very similar to its predecessor, displaying almost the same heaviness, speed and ferocity, which means that if they play these two songs in a row during their concerts I’m quite sure we’ll see some blood spilling from the crowd. And as one final explosion of Death Metal we have Damned, as brutal and well-crafted as the rest of the album, yet again embracing elements from Bay Area Thrash mixed with contemporary Death Metal and with highlights to the deep and desperate guttural by Anto.

As Soulwound is offering us all absolutely no peace with their visceral and modern music, we should all show them our respect and support by visiting their Facebook page, YouTube channel and SoundCloud, and you can take all that peaceless Death Metal craziness home by purchasing their brand new album at the Inverse Records’ webstore (as a regular CD version or a CD + T-shirt bundle), at CDON.COM, or at Record Shop X. As already mentioned, Soulwound are not among us to bring joy or tranquility to our lives, but to provide a demolishing assault of high-end metal music, which is indeed all we ask for when the music in question is Death and Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Altars of Skin, Alone Against All and Wasteland.

Worst moments of the album: Crime and Punishment.

Released in 2016 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Intro: Impulsive Aggression 1:57
2. Hurt Me Plenty 5:09
3. Altars of Skin 4:29
4. Alone Against All 3:40
5. Wasteland 4:59
6. Crime and Punishment 5:50
7. Misery Index 4:20
8. Hate Speech 4:26
9. Damned 5:55

Band members
Arto Jauho – vocals
Niko Huusari – guitar
Mikko Huusari – guitar
Joni Järvenmäki – bass
Janne Huusari – drums

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