Solstice of Oppression

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One of the most notorious and, well, only death metal bands of note to emerge out of the Midwest during the '90s, Chicago favorites Oppressor made their debut with 1994's Solstice of Oppression -- a technically proficient but rather samey death metal effort which nevertheless earned them a decent following in that metal-starved period. Guttural vocals, de-tuned riffing, elaborate arrangements, and challenging percussion combine to create a gut-churning, bottom-end vortex, which is fittingly, errr...oppressive. Occasional acoustic guitars and dexterously performed lead breaks add coloring throughout, but still offer little respite from the onslaught perpetrated by tracks like "Eclipse Into Eternity" and "And the Angels Fell (The Suffering)." The atmospheric intro "Prelude to Death" is the only exception to the rule, but soon unleashes hell once again via subsequent album highlight "Genocide." All told, there are no real surprises here, but plenty of blood and guts to ruin Thanksgiving dinner nonetheless.

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