Album: Call and Response
Whether you like it or not, when you hear a member of a since-defunct band starts up a new project, you can’t help but make some comparisons in your head (at the very least). Whether it’s the same genre or a complete 180 from their previous sound, you hold the artist to certain standards. This is especially true of vocalist Karl Schubach of the prolific Misery Signals–and mastermind behind the equally sensational Solace. Solace’s debut full length, Call and Response is a riveting adventure in groovy, progressive metalcore which is equal parts spacey and brutal and is dynamic enough to immerse the listener in galactic calm whilst drowning them slowly in crushing heaviness.
Instrumentally, Solace function as a well-oiled machine crafting an almost-djent influenced melodic and fluid sound. Call and Response is the complete package: with bi-polar riffing that goes from gliding, smooth guitar lines laid over popping and snapping bass to heavy, crushing grooves and breakdowns punctuated with gunfire-like cracks from the snare. All things considered, the percussion takes a relative backseat to the strings, all the while making their presence known with oddly-timed fills and a sturdy, ground-pounding foundation for the guitars to build off of.
The guitars use their diverse stylings to craft a figurative cathedral of intricate riffing in the spacious basilica that is Call and Response. Skyscraper-height atmospheric ambience fills in the space between the low-tuned and grimy grooves and bass tones as if they were stained glass. Songs like the album’s namesake, “Call and Response” and “4 8 15 16 24 42” craft such enormous, taught structures of ambience and atmosphere, that when the tension grows too great, an enormous earth-quaking breakdown emerges and sends the cathedral tumbling to the ground. While each song makes use of this structure–if only in a limited sense–it never grows old, as each structure the strings and drums craft is such a unique monument to metalcore perfection, that when the jaw-droppingly heavy breakdown strikes, it’s almost a shame to watch it crumble.
While Solace’s intense instrumentation easily sends Call and Response flying into the realm of metalcore greats, it is the incredible vocals pervasive throughout the release which make it truly magnificent. Schubach provides an incessant vocal assault on the listener with above-average, thought provoking lyrics questioning religion and the Human condition. “Naive,” displays Schubach’s vocal and lyrical prowess above all other tracks on the album, with a stunningly composed climax which is part breakdown and part groove with just a touch of atmosphere to keep it from getting claustrophobic and overwhelming. Call and Response’s brilliant use of Schubach’s extraordinary vocal talent is magnified by the small instrumental segments which serve as build-up and reprieve, making Schubach’s return to a track feel like a renewed and redoubled onslaught of sheer visceral power.
Whether or not you’re a Misery Signals fanboy and know all of Controller by heart, there is no denying the unstoppable prowess that Solace’s Call and Response brings to the table. A juggernaut of relentless heaviness, grinding grooves and stunning, spacey atmosphere, Call and Response is a bastion of metalcore excellence any music lover can find solace in.
For Fans Of: Volumes, Misery Signals, Visionaries, Your Memorial
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism