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Green machine

New Orleans heavies are darlings in disguise

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Soilent Green rawk, with or without the wood paneling.
  • Soilent Green rawk, with or without the wood paneling.

Soilent Green stood me up. Because of what their label called "transportation problems," our scheduled interview never came to pass, making me think I'm forever destined to be the metal bridesmaid and never the metal bride.

That and scary facial hair notwithstanding, the group is a bunch of sweethearts. For 17 years, these darlings of the heavy music scene have been cranking out an uncommonly good, Gatling-sludge brand of metal from their home base of New Orleans.

The band is touring on their newest Relapse release, Confrontation, whose aural equivalent surely involves buckshot or, at the very least, a team of rabid horses.

Like their labelmates Mastodon and High on Fire, Soilent Green eschews theatrics for full-on auditory assault. This is heaviness at its core elements: deep, dazzling guitar runs, alternately grindy and spacious drumming, and garroted screaming, all distilled through a sieve of wicked song structuring. They do away with traditional structure, employing instead off-time transitions and unusual tempos. But for the grind, their songs flow, each idea supplanting the one before.

The band's had a rough time of things recently. A van accident in 2001 left some members with broken bones, and another in 2002 injured others. Vocalist Ben Falgoust underwent numerous surgeries and physical therapy in order to walk again. I'm not sure how much of this they channel into their music (I would've asked ...), though it's apparent they've become a more directed machine because of it.

It's not unthinkable that Soilent's status could turn on an appearance in that whole bizarre bazaar called Ozzfest sometime in the future. (The aforementioned Mastodon is a second-stage act this summer.)

And if so, more power to them. With songs like "Gagged Whore," the Green's clearly not for everyone (read: the Celine Dion/Faith Hill demographic), but fans of hardcore, tech, grind or metal at large should find them a savory, brutal little treat. Mmm! Ouch! Ah.

-- Aaron Retka

capsule

Soilent Green with special guests A Perfect Murder, Into the Moat and Watch Them Die

Darkside, 2106 E. Platte Ave.

Saturday, July 30, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $8 advance/$10 at the door; call 385-5969 or log on to sodajerkpresents.com.

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