European and American bands may get a lot of the focus when it comes to what listeners get exposed to, but Chile has been a hot bed for all types of metal for those that want to get a dose of the old-school spirit. In addition to a lot of groups that retain that same rabid and over the top approach that channels the formative 80s period of black, death, and heavy metal, Chile also has quite a few artists putting a weirder and avant-garde spin on things. Solipnosis is one of these, as this solo project of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Centavri has taken speed metal, thrash, and black metal and transformed them into a wild and unpredictable ride. The project’s latest EP Síntesis silenciosa follows up 2020’s Clarividencia, introspección, retrospección with an emphasis on speed and constant twists and turns, providing a dizzying number of riffs mixed with ominous atmosphere and purposefully muddy production values. It’s a lot to take in on the first listen but spend some time diving into the madness Solipnosis has to offer and you may just come away thoroughly impressed.
Síntesis silenciosa explores first wave black metal in ways similar to Negative Plane and Funereal Presence at certain points, as there’s a similar emphasis on wild and chaotic riffs that have a darker and aggressive tone to them. But Solipnosis puts their own spin on things and has also produced the material in a way that makes it feel like it could’ve come out of the 80s or 90s, as the sound is a little muddy and has rawer edges to it. Sometimes it sounds like you’re hearing something that’s been transferred to cassette tapes multiple times, definitely giving it that older sound, but for the right listener that’s going to add to the appeal. But even with this being the case, the details of each song aren’t obscured and the bass has a tendency to pop out at the right moments alongside the fast and furious guitars. The biggest difference between this EP and its predecessor is that Centavri rarely lets off the gas this time around, moving from one fast and furious riff to another while also layering in ominous keyboard melodies and other passages that have a weirder feel to them. Songs spew forth like the stream of consciousness of a madman, moving from black/thrash and first wave black metal to creepier moments that give off hints of Mortuary Drape and other bands of that ilk. The transitions are often abrupt and just when you think you’ve got Solipnosis figured out the songs shift into something different. This sounds like it could be a chaotic unlistenable mess, and in lesser hands it would be, but Centavri has the chops to pull it off. Tracks like “Separación del qué y el quién” and “Poder absoluto individual” showcase what make this EP so exciting, as not only do they have pummeling bass lines and fast, rawer riffs that will grab the attention of any black metal or black/thrash fan, but the slower sections have this “psychedelic trip gone wrong” vibe to them that makes everything sound more sinister and strange. The only thing I personally didn’t care for was the abundance of interludes, as while they do give a respite from the madness the acoustic ones felt a bit too similar and the flow of having an intro and instrumental track back-to-back hurt the pacing early on.
The vocals on Síntesis silenciosa keep things rooted in black metal, with Centavri going for a raspier scream that has that similar rawness and aggression as a lot of other South American bands. But as you make your way through the whirlwind of riffs and vocals, you’ll discover there’s a lot more to this side of Solipnosis than is immediately apparent. “Capaz de una obra mayor” gives you a taste of this across its six-minute run with wailing falsettos, echoed spoken word, and some chanting that is downright haunting and captures a similar effect as Portugal’s Onirik. For every passage that has a more traditional scream or growl, you’ve got just as many that lean into the falsettos and unhinged sounding ranges and that only helps Solipnosis to stand out further. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy the more avant-garde and extreme falsettos, then you’re in good hands here.
Chilean metal musicians continue to capture that raw and wild feeling of early black and speed metal extremely well, and Solipnosis does so by putting a more experimental and unhinged slant on everything. Compared to the band’s past material, this EP is even faster and harder to keep up with as it moves from one idea to the next at lightning speed, often doing so in unexpected and intriguing ways. If you liked Funereal Presence’s last album or even some of the other weird stuff from Chile like Sign of Evil, this is a must listen. Síntesis silenciosa is available from විරෑපී (VIRŪPI).
-Review by Chris Dahlberg