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The Zenith Passage – Solipsist (Unique Leader Records)

Solipsist is the debut album by technical death metal band The Zenith Passage. Prior to this, the band had put out an EP called Cosmic Dissonance in 2013 and a single/demo of the song “Zenith” in 2012. That 2013 EP was able to help the band achieve quite a good following in a short amount of time, and the band toured the country under bigger names such as Fallujah. That hype, paired with the announcement of guitarist and founding member Justin becoming the second guitarist of well-established technical death metal band The Faceless, led to high anticipation towards this release. Sure enough, the band was able to deliver.

Solipsist is an album that is able to merge typical technical death metal qualities with some new tricks by the band. In doing this, the band is able to please fans of The Faceless, Necrophagist, and Obscura while not sounding like a direct rip-off or clone of the bands that came before them. This is extremely obvious in “Holographic Principle II: Convergence” where the band incorporates some Muse-like keyboards amongst the pulverizing drumming and guitar-shredding.

Characteristic of the technical death metal genre are the jazzy guitar solos, robotic vocals and extremely occasional clean vocals, and sporadic keyboards throughout. These characteristics are all there, however the band is full of groove, melody, and harmony to make these songs extremely memorable. This is something that has become very difficult to do, because I personally feel that the technical death metal genre has become stale. I feel this because it seems like bands are just trying to be faster or heavier than each other. The Zenith Passage does not focus on this, and instead brings a lot of atmosphere into the mix, as heard towards the ends of “Simulated Reality” and “Deus Deceptor”.

The band really has a great balance between the heavy sections and the softer sections, and this is a trait that is going to help them in the long run. An amazing debut album for such a young and talented band. I expect to see a lot more of them, as this album will indeed be striking the right chord for many fans of this type of music.

– Jordan Salfity