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Blending elements of grindcore, death metal, black metal, hardcore, and bluesy, groove-oriented Southern rock, Lousiana quintet Soilent Green has grown into one of the most distinctive bands in the U.S. metal underground. Along with contemporaries such as Eyehategod, Crowbar, and Acid Bath, they have helped put their home state on the metal map, meanwhile giving it a reputation for spawning exceptionally sludgy and pain-ridden bands. Soilent Green certainly lives up to these adjectives, but they share qualities with a variety of other bands — from complex, anger-fueled hardcore groups such as Coalesce and Dillinger Escape Plan to sheer grindcore powerhouses Brutal Truth and Napalm Death and, less obviously, musical channel surfers Mr. Bungle and Naked City. The band originally formed in 1988 around a lineup that included guitarists Brian Patton and Donovan Punch and drummer Tommy Buckley, but it took several years for their lineup to solidify. (To further complicate matters, Patton took a gig with Eyehategod in the early '90s, a commitment that has played a part in slowing Soilent Green's output over the years.) At any rate, bassist Scott Williams joined in 1992, while vocalist Louis Benjamin Falgoust II came onboard a year later. Using this lineup, they released their first album, Pussysoul, for Dwell Records in 1995. Subsequent touring led them on the road with Pantera, Extreme Noise Terror, and A.C.
With their next release, they made the jump to Relapse Records, releasing the mini-CD A String of Lies in 1998. Their second full-length, Sewn Mouth Secrets, followed on Relapse that same year and, even more than the CD A String of Lies, marked a mature step forward for the band, with Falgoust's vocals in particular sounding much more convincing in their delivery. Around this time, a Rolling Stone magazine article named them among the "ten most important hard and heavy bands right now." After touring for Sewn Mouth Secrets, Patton returned to work with Eyehategod, while Falgoust recorded an album with the black metal band Goatwhore.
In 1999, guitarist Punch unexpectedly announced his decision to retire from music, and Ben Stout, one of Falgoust's bandmates in Goatwhore, was recruited to fill in his slot. With this new lineup intact, the follow-up to Sewn Mouth, entitled A Deleted Symphony for the Beaten Down, was recorded in 2000 and scheduled for release in the summer of 2001.