Review: “Fragments of Solace” by Profanity

“We wanted to transport the vibe of the most important death metal releases for us from the 90s into the present and mix it with our vision of extreme music. For the type of music we play, some of the most influential albums were released in the 90s. This is the music we grew up with. This is the music we love and appreciate and of course we still listen to today.” ~ Profanity

Armin Hassmann (drums), Lukas Haidinger  (vocals and bass guitar), Thomas Sartor (vocals and guitars) have set a bench mark with their albums “Shadows to Fall” (1997) and “Slaughtering Thoughts” (2000) before a break saw them return with EP “Hatred Hell Within” (2014) and “The Art of Sickness” (2017). Working on “Fragments of Solace” as a trio, German Technical Death Metal outfit Profanity once again called in the guests to bolster their numbers and primarily for the most part lay down a collection of guitar solos, as they did with that last album. Recording in the first half of 2020 at Living Monstrosity Studios, Brickhouse Tonstudio and Deep Deep Pressure Studios with mixing and mastering by Lukas Haidinger in August 2020. Intriguingly their former bass player Martl Bauer makes a guest appearance and the liner notes state that all the lyrics were inked by him as well…

…Profanity have been stepping on stages since 1993 and 27 years on still pull no punches with their violent Technical Death Metal approach. Sartor’s fingers must bleed as smoke rises from the fretboard during the blistering “Disputed Territory” which has Dave Suzuki of Churchburn dropping a solo but still sees the bands main man contributing the work of a trio of guitarists in his own right. If you are not familiar with Profanity, imagine “Beneath The Remains” era Sepultura if they were joined by Steffen Kummerer of Obscura and you get the something approaching what this band can do. Hassmann becomes a relentless force of nature on “Progenitor of the Blaze“, laying down a blast beat laden foundation on which Haidinger and Sartor paint in blood with intriguing amount of melodic lead licks at breakneck pace. Good luck getting into a circle pit to this, it’s fast and so littered with tempo changes that you’d have to be Usain Bolt to keep up. “Reckless Souls” is just as frenetic with the bass popping out and giving some short fast solo parts with almost Jazz like sounds as if a guitar. There is no doubt that the likes of Josh Drummer of Buried Realm would be inspired by this in his endeavors as the rhymical gymnastics are nothing shorts of mesmerizingly good. If it wasn’t for the Death Metal context, the leads could actually work with and band like Intervals, they’re of that ilk technically. “Where Forever Starts” sees the aforementioned Martl Bauer join in the fun and the nine minute magnum opus they create together is a death defying Monster of a tune, he clearly still has what it takes to do this, should he ever desire to do so full time and the fact that he inked the lyrics in poison pen tells you that he is very much still a silent partner in the band.

Haidinger is given some vocal support by Dimitry Orlov of Fetal Decay on “Towards the Sun” and together the twin headed hydra attacks in waves, the vocals being less sparse than they are on any other cut here; which isn’t to say that the virtuoso guitar work is at any point left behind. Instead it moves up a gear to a new level with Matt Sotelo of Decrepit Birth impressing as the twin guitar attack syncopates to full effect, technical doesn’t even begin to sum it up before “Ceremony of the Rotten Flesh” cuts loose with some more efficient and equally brutal riffs. Having Terrance Hobbs of Suffocation back once again solidifies the union between the two bands and if his first performance was something special, this one is again on another level; as if they have chugged down 10 cans of Red Bull and then injected some adrenaline before picking up their axes, pure blood fire. So much so that as a listener, it leaves you breathless. You can’t begin to think you’ve actually heard it all after a hundred spins of the vinyl; there are so many jaw dropping moments that you are left in awe at them and your brain simply can’t catch up. Even the 180 second burst of “The Autopsy” fires off like an Uzi submachine gun with riffs so frantic it would take scholars many moons to fathom out what was being played. All that and we have barely mentioned the deathly growls of the vocals which are perhaps more of a sub plot when it comes to this band, but would be strangely absent should they not exist. Profanity are so good, it beggars belief  [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Disputed Territory (ft. Dave Suzuki of Churchburn)
2. Progenitor of the Blaze
3. Reckless Souls
4. Where Forever Starts (ft. Martl Bauer, ex-Profanity)
5. Towards the Sun (ft. Matt Sotelo of Decrepit Birth and Dimitry Orlov of Fetal Decay)
6. Ceremony of the Rotten Flesh (ft. Terrance Hobbs of Suffocation)
7. The Autopsy

“Fragments of Solace” by Profanity is out 4th December 2020 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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