MOTHER OF ALL - AGE OF THE SOLIPSIST
AN ECLECTIC RUSH FOR THOSE IN NEED OF A TRASH ENDORPHIN HIT
Mother of All seems to be a project, long in gestation, co-ordinated principally by Danish drummer, Martin Haumann, who has played with Myrkur and Afsky. He enlisted some notable names for Age of the Solipsist, particularly the vastly experienced session bassist Steve DiGiorgio whose CV reads like an entire death metal collection, though he is perhaps best known for his involvement with Testament, Death, Autopsy, and Sadus. Meanwhile, polyrhythmic metal drummer extraordinaire Hans Grossmann was responsible for production. It’s already an intriguing proposition.
Age of the Solipsist is only seven tracks but a lot is thrown into the mix. Starting off with the partially blackened Scando-death of Autumn it has racing speed, atmospheric melodies, and spit though a peculiar (and very well executed) flamenco Spanish guitar interlude is arguably superfluous but they get away with it. The riffs have real enervated flair with a clear classic Nordic flavour. There are overt homages to old school trashy thrash with the likes of the frenetic, tightly-reigned anger of We Don’t Agree, where Haumann’s shouty fury sounds like he is blowing a gasket and also the slower but no less irate Curators of Our World Scope. The thrash element forms a lynchpin throughout the album but there are also some impressive groove-laden melodies. The title track in particular has some earworm hooklines that many melodeath acts would have stolen and it is easily a stand out track. Nor do they lose any horsepower by slowing things down and At the End of a Dream sounds like mid-paced At the Gates at their most melodic meeting Sick Of It All in a beatdown.
The old school noisy thrash, especially during the latter half of the album, veers towards hardcore cross-over territory. There is undeniable attitudinal snot and polemical defiance running through Age of the Solipsist and Haumann is indefatigably pumped up for a visceral rant. His spewy, caustic vocal delivery does not err or alter and his politicised bark fits well with a hardcore style. Blood Still Owed is the type of belligerent thrash – it even includes some brief gang chants - that would easily appeal at a hardcore venue. The album closer Feel the Pain presents another twist that is diverges from the previous songs; it melds In Flames style melodies with a dirty urban hardcore bass and posture with a ballsy rockiness.
The sleeve artwork, the estimable personnel, and the accompanying promotion might have you suspecting this project was going to be another meat-and-potatoes proto-vintage take on classic death-orientated thrash: the type peddled by a small army of enthusiasts that, while usually technically adroit and well played, tends to offer little in terms of originality, clout, or excitement. Any suspicions of that sort are, however, unfair and lazy because Age of the Solipsist is instead a gutsy, confrontational, somewhat eclectic – and altogether grittier - offering. It is, of course, tightly honed and technically polished as you would expect from those involved, and there are nods to classic death / thrash with a taught backbone of Kreator or Testament discipline. There are technical flourishes, too, but that other sin often committed by one-off projects with big names involved of getting bogged down in technical fiddly tedium, is thankfully avoided. In fact the album is at a good length and doesn’t outstay its welcome. The most unexpected element of Mother of All is the surprising sporadic hardcore cross-over vibe and there are approximations of Anthrax or Agnostic Front at times. This aspect is at least partly explained by Haumann’s raspy bark that would not be out of place in a grotty NY basement club. You get the impression, though, that this sound was possibly unintentional. All in all, a punch to the thorax and wee hit for those needing a thrash endorphin fix.