Solanum/Epi-demic - Passages To Lunacy

Released on the Horror Pain Gore Death Productions label is the split between the bands Solanum and Epi-demic. From the outside, this release is sure to spark the interest of the most underground and old school of fans, but I have said that before about other releases and the material on the disc has been subpar, leaving a lot to be desired. So, what is it about bands and labels who like to attract people with old school type artwork, but then leave the fans with music that isn’t worth the price to ship the disc? Well, I’m not exactly sure, but let’s thank the metal Gods that we don’t have to worry about that here, for the bands on this split know exactly what they are doing and make this split one that should be in every metal head’s collection.

On the Solanum side of things the riffs are what stand out above everything else. I mean it’s nothing really innovative here but the approach is really awesome. There is a slight punkish type overtone and vibe to the riffs here, and it’s used in a way that really gets behind the thrash influences and pushes them forward. It’s all in the attitude and how it’s played here. The vocal delivery is somewhere in the mid to late 80’s and has a definite hardcore feel in the delivery but you can also feel the thrash approach just as you can in the riffs. You have the same attitude and approach. The band really has everything sewn tight with each and every tune on their half of this split. Even the bass. In most bands I have reviewed lately the bass either not been at the forefront or it has not been worth mentioning. With Solanum, they have found the right and perfect balance for the bass in regards to the material presented here. All the way around these guys know what they are doing. I swear that if I didn’t tell you that this was release this past January, you would swear this would be something from the lost archives in the thrash/crossover movement from the 80’s. These guys are that good! If I hate to relate this guys to other bands and sounds I would say that if you could picture Cryptic Slaughter, D.R.I. and Atrophy mixing things up then that is what Solanum sounds like. I am not use to a mixture like this but it is a sound that could quickly grow on me. In many ways it is chaotic but it is not without direction. These guys have talent and it is showcased well in this material. I look forward to what they have to offer in the future.

The Epi-demic side of things is a bit different. I notice right off the bat, that the production, at least on the music side of things, is a bit thicker or at least muffled. It sounds as if the vocals are produced on a different level than everything else. Not really sure if this is intentional or just the way it happened in the mixing process. Whatever the case may be it really doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of the tunes at all. In a way it adds a nice little nostalgic value to the material just as the approach that Solanum took added the same value to their material. I will say that Epi-demic’s material seems to be a bit “thrashier” than Solanum’s but there is an ever present punk/crossover vibe as well. Upon listening to this material again, it almost seems like Epi-demic is more “energetic” in the presentation of their material influences and vibes I pick up on with Epi-demic are: Wehrmacht, Ironchrist, old Corrosion of Conformity (Eye for an Eye era), and again Cryptic Slaughter. Pretty much on point throughout their half of the split and in addition to the thicker production to the music, you might even say that there is a ever so slight sludginess to the way they play so that added element to the production makes these tunes that much more monstrous and enjoyable. This split cd as a whole was very enjoyable and takes me back to a period of music that I really didn’t get to enjoy a whole lot. It’s bands like Solanum and Epi-demic, who make awesome music such as that on this split, that make it possible for metal heads like me to go back and relive a genre that we never really got to enjoy. Support these bands and support Horror Pain Gore Death Productions!


  1. Friendly Civil Servant
  2. Welcome To Our Homemade Hell
  3. Manipulated
  4. Lunatic Tradition 04:14

  1. Time Is Running Short (When You're Dying On The Cross)
  2. Famine
  3. Nuclear Dream
  4. Stewing In Misery

Reviewer: twansibon
Apr 9, 2015
Next review: Ichor - Depths

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