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Solidify

United States Country of Origin: United States

Solidify
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: February 23rd, 1999
Genre: Groove
1. Isolation
2. Amped
3. Lockdown
4. Griefless
5. Foresight
6. Human?
7. Vindicate
8. Stresscase
9. Challenge
10. Verrater (Betrayer)
11. Bug Juice


Review by Felix on April 27, 2024.

Some critics wrote about "Nemesis", the second album of Grip Inc., that the band just had tried again to captivate the listener with its success formula of the ingenious debut. I did not share this point of view. Yet it seems that the musicians took this criticism seriously. "Solidify" did not ignore the musical roots of the band. But it left no doubt that the highly talented musicians had started a journey in order to reach new shores. Dave Lombardo took the foot off the gas pedal so that the compositions showed a different approach. Consequently, the album sounded less furious without lacking of heaviness. And what was more, the modified approach led to fascinating results. The maliciously crawling "Griefless" reflected the new roadmap of Grip Inc. in a brilliant manner. Drilling guitar riffs characterised the beginning and the end of the song. They also occurred during the choruses and were constantly alternating with the calm verses. While the riffing offered the well-known outstanding quality of Sorychta´s work, exactly the tranquil sequences emphasised the menacing aura. Gus Chambers also played his part without the slightest error. The dark lyrics matched with the atmosphere of the verses and caused discomfort. While listening to them, I got the feeling of walking down a poorly illuminated street at night, not knowing, who moves in my back. Finally, the suspenseful solo part confirmed the perfect balance of malignancy and melody. A "gripping" highlight.

The focusing on "Griefless" does not mean that the remaining tracks stood in its shadow. At least half of the album reached an overwhelming level. To be more concrete, the first five songs could hardly be beaten. Their constructions were roughly comparable with that of "Griefless" - with one exception. "Amped" seemed to be a forgotten jewel of the recording session for their debut. The slicing riffs broke any kind of resistance and the whipping drums set the noteworthy pace. Despite its short breaks, the song became a vortex of brutality, driven by the precise double bass of Lombardo. Backward-looking consumers might be of the opinion that "Amped" marked the only track that revealed the "true" Grip Inc. These nostalgic people ignore that already the second album of the band did not follow strictly the direction of the debut. However, "Amped" was the best Slayer song of the nineties - and please understand this as a serious compliment.

Despite the artillery fire of "Stresscase" or the accusing yet quick-tempered "Verräter (Betrayer)", the second half of the full-length was slightly weaker. However, the only throwaway tracks were the calm and almost philosophical "Human?" and "Vindicate". The latter one suffered from edgy yet somehow aimless riffs and the slightly bumpy chorus did not reveal the full effectiveness of the band. Nevertheless, nine exciting tracks left their mark while being equipped with a transparent, offensive and punchy sound. Without question, Grip Inc. bared its teeth, regardless of the more dignified compositions. They had found a very good balance between fanaticism and calculation. To put it in a nutshell, "Solidify" was a very good album. From a present day point of view, it does not mark the climax of their artistic creativity. Nevertheless, it possesses at least a handful of songs (and a fantastic drum solo in the last track) that each and every thrash metal addict must know.

Rating: 8.2 out of 10

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