Germany Avantgarde Progressive Metal collective Soulsplitter started writing “Salutogenesis” in 2016. Their debut album takes influence from all styles and genres with Opeth,Twelve Foot Ninja and Haken all sited as reference points.
“The Prophecy” serves merely as an introduction piece of dark theatric quality. It’s spoken word poetry is the perfect start for an album that offers depth and texture to the bones of its first full track, the 11 minute opus that is “The Transition”. After an extended opening of cinematic quality guitars evoking thoughts of a Spy thriller, the song transitions into some female vocal lead aching melodies and darker brooding sounds. After it’s faster start, it becomes a slow burning track for the mid section with Progressive ambient tones and funky bass lines before returning to the more energetic with a gutteral roar. It’s beauty is in the smooth transitions between the styles while remaining interesting and innovative throughout. It’s the classical music of Metal. Glasses and coffee or perhaps a fine wine rather than a shot and a beer. “The Molch” on the other hand has far more aggresive tendencies with some skull splitting uncleans during the opening verses. Some punchy staccato riffs and creepy piano parts add a haunting horror film vibe as the song twists and turns, wriggling to get away. Patterns build in chord progressions to a crescendo and then switch for something new to take its place with slick elegance without ever being too over indulgent. A fine example being the solo that is so delicately delivered it’s wonderful. There is a verse chorus structure of sorts in this cut but the separation between them is a distance measured in miles. This is ultimately the direction that we would predict Periphery would reach in 6-7 albums time.
Returning to the creepy and off kilter piano before brining in some atmospheric guitar work “The Maze” explores as it says on the tin, the maze of the mind. It slow builds into some bigger and heavier rythmic groves with a synth chill and vocals of Chris Cornell quality. A dream like quality is given to “The Sunset” by some cyclical piano patterns that build out with some Jazzy drum sounds and a tension loaded bass riff. It’s a nice way to clear the mind between the longer tracks with a short burst of something that doesn’t break the atmosphere but adds a point of difference. Showcasing some serious guitar skills with an epic piece of work on “The Dream” that is accompanied by a violin acting as a lead guitar. The song has a wonderful rise and fall, ebbing and flowing like a river to the sea though a plethora of moods of light and shade. There are a couple of circle pit worthy breakdowns section mid song that listening to the opening orchestral work you’d wonder how it was ever reached but doesn’t feel out of place at all. They add a welcome break to some of the epic grandeur and Devin Townsend will no doubt look to tap up their talent for one of his future tour runs, preferring to be backed by a band rather than a collection of musicians. Very much THE German Progressive Metal version of Disney’s Fantasia, “Salutogenesis” captives the attention more than that film ever did for us.
Vocals return for “The Eye Of The Cyclone” which rather than being the brash noise that the title suggests, is a weaving meloncholy melodic tune of intertwined male and female vocal passages with gently weeping guitars. Occupying a far more traditional song structure it would be easy to see it as a single, however that would misrepresent the album and the band as a whole. “The Sacrifice” brings the album full circle back to an 11 minute plus song of big Dream Theatre inspired sounds. Piano heavy it creates a song that perhaps belongs in a Broadway musical as much as it does on an album of this statue. The breadth of the albums musicanship is stunningly beautiful, full of ideas of light and shade, contrast and emotion. An epic piece of work, it demands your full attention and gives something fresh in each repeated listen, simply because your brain can not comprehend all that is offered from start to finish in a single take [8.5/10]