Released: 2001, Clenchedfist Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Living Sacrifice fans listen up! If you’ve been living in a cave, you probably didn’t know about the band Soul Embraced, featuring two members of Living Sacrifice, namely Lance Garvin (drums) and Rocky Gray (guitars). And hey, I feel like I have been living in exile, to an extent. My internet surfing has been significantly reduced to practically nothing. And I feel a little out-of-touch with current metal events. But when I quickly dropped by Living Sacrifice’s web site, I learned about Soul Embraced and was immediately interested. I have become one huge Living Sacrifice fan over the past several months, and upon learning of Soul Embraced’s existence, I quickly ordered FOR THE INCOMPLETE without even bothering to sample it.
I took a chance, and it paid off! This band totally kills! It’s back to death metal for these two Living Sacrifice boys, along with vocalist Chad Moore. Soul Embraced is an amalgam of influences, ranging from “Cannibal Corpse, Pantera, Fear Factory, In Flames and Living Sacrifice”, as indicated on their web site. And while you might be thinking “oh great, that’s all we need, another copycat band”, think again. Because Soul Embraced is no copycat band. No! They have taken these influences and have created something that sounds very refreshing to my ears. Ok, so maybe I am a little biased, being the Living Sacrifice nut that I am. But I was very impressed with what I hear on this album. And what did I hear? Let’s find out: “Unborn” starts the album with a twisted-sounding chanting sampled intro before careening your skull with pure death metal…double bass up the ass and old style classic death metal riffing. Throw in a bit of harmony guitars, ultra-heavy start-stop riffing, and varied-tempo drumming and you’ve got yourself one damn fine death metal jewel. “Screams Unseen” follows in a slower midpaced fashion, before resorting to more double bass and classic death riffing. Can’t go wrong with that combination! Damn is this song heavy! Especially the total mosh (remember that term?) part…bang thy head!!!! “Ascend Into Thy Embrace” has an amazing melodic opening that resembles the old style Swedish melodic death metal ala old At The Gates. Definitely one of the highlights on the CD for me. Put a blast beat with that riffing and you’ve got one heavenly combination. “My Tourniquet” has got some nice Fear Factory-style start-stop riffing that gets combined with some more great melodic riffing that really hits the spot just right inside me. This song fucken blows away Fear Factory’s latest piece of shit, and OBSOLETE for that matter. You know, now that I think of it, maybe I like this song so much because it sounds a bit like latter-day Illdisposed? Ah ha!! That’s it! “Forgiveness in Solitude” is pretty straightforward death metal, but it’s got some nice chugging riffing, and even a little old-style Machine Head part in it. Ahh…if only Machine Head were still a good band. “Devour Gomorrah” follows and gives us more melodic death ala old At The Gates and as well as classic death metal riffage. I love it! “Exhumed” closes the 7-track recording with all its mid-paced glory. This song makes me want to do nothing more than grab my guitar and bang my head into submission as I try to emulate the riffs I hear. But it doesn’t end here. Four more tracks, taken from the band’s 1999 release FLESHLESS, have been tacked onto the end of the CD. I couldn’t tell you the song titles, because they’re not listed (a pleasant surprise to discover four more tracks when listening to the CD for the first time). But they ROCK.
I really admire the guitar playing of the Living Sacrifice boys, as well as drummer Lance. So, I guess it was a given that I’d be into this album. Chad’s vocals are really nothing new, but hey, they fit the music perfectly, and are somewhere in between your typical low death growl and high-pitched variety. In fact, Chad reminds me of the vocalist on the first Theory In Practice album THIRD EYE FUNCTION. But then I’m sure you poor souls have not heard that album. Shame on you. The production on FOR THE IMCOMPLETE is a little rough, but I love it! It sounds raw and heavy, like it should! Overall, I can’t say that Soul Embraced brings anything new to the table of death metal. But FOR THE IMCOMPLETE is a damn refreshing listen. Just when you think everyone has forgotten how to play classic death metal (with some modern touches of course), Soul Embraced comes along and totally kicks your ass! Check these guys out at http://www.soulembraced.com
and also their label’s site at http://www.clenchedfistrecords.com
Check out http://www.mp3.com
for sound samples too. And while you’re at it, visit the Living Sacrifice site at http://www.livingsacrifice.com
Buy all their albums if you want some truly HEAVY metal! Also be on the lookout for the new Soul Embraced album THIS IS MY BLOOD out on July 31st on Solid State Records.