Chilean death metal quartet Istengoat are getting their debut full length, ‘Atlas Shrugged’, rereleased on shiny vinyl by Blood Harvest Records, and what a hidden gem of international death metal fury it is!
Opener ‘Ascension’ goes directly for the jugular from the outset, without any sense of drama. This is instantly gratifying, without sitting through an obligatory pointless intro, Istengoat ravage your ears from the get go with their technical death metal maelstorm. ‘Der Panther’ has some great lead guitar moments, combining an American sense of brutality with a European sense of melody. Imagine Morbid Angel writing Hypocrisy songs, and you’d be close. The sleek production belies the flailing beast below.
But it is titan nine minute track ‘With Usura’ that really ticks the boxes for me. A classy melodic intro descends into a rumbling death metal beast. It isn’t easy to create good death metal these days without it being accused of plagiarism. ‘With Usura’ is monstrous in its scale, a vast crawling wall of deathly riffs. No one out there is creating death metal as challengingly simple as this.
Savagery abounds, whether it be in the Swedeath battering of ‘Unverzagt’, the morbid thunder of the title track, with its majestic brutality or the propulsive ‘Avatura’, Istengoat have injected their music with a great deal of melody, brutality and variety. There’s fast paced, razor riffing and slower, more steam roller riffs. Istengoat’s offerings to the gods of death is a mature, technically impressive album that peels back to reveal a vicious, passionate heart. This is no death by numbers, this is death metal the way it was supposed to be played.