Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Gutted Souls - The Illusion of Freedom

Brazilian technical/brutal death metallers Gutted Souls have released their debut full length, ‘The Illusion of Freedom’, the follow up to 2012’s devastating ‘Unconscious Automaton’ EP. It came out last year, but I’ve just got my hands on a copy and man, is it a whirlwind of tech death brutality like you’ve never seen!

Opener ‘Being Human’ is dense as fuck, rampaging through some sickeningly heavy riffing but not shirking from some nice melodic work too. Gutted Souls have got a cool, Vader vibe in places, like the chugging ‘Snakes in Suits’ or the snarling, slavering ‘The Undying Stars’. Powering through a tight, technically impressive and guttural yet crisp collection of songs, Gutted Souls are full of good songwriting and rumbling intensity. There’s no sections that feel set up to impress guitar nerds, but the riffs are serpentine and everchanging in order to capture that perfect moment of destruction. ‘Psychopathic Ruler’ has one of the coolest solos in death metal today, and winding it round an absolute beast of a track helps it to stand out.

‘The Illusion of Freedom’ is a tight, solid and perfectly executed slab of brutal death that avoids the slam-and-squeal approach of many of their contemporaries in order to concentrate on a sense of weight and heft, despite being capable of fretboard fireworks at times. Gutted Souls are a band that deserve your time if you’re a fan of Vader, Cannibal Corpse or basically good death metal!

Piah Mater - The Wandering Daughter

‘The Wandering Daughter’ is the second full length fom Brazilian progressive death metallers Piah Mater, and it is a tortured, soul wrenching slab of progressive death metal and black metal. It is out now through Code666 Records, and looks to be a new standard in progressive extremity.

Opener ‘Hyster’ brings us delicate acoustics that make me reminisce about the awesome acoustic Opeth record, ‘Damnation’. From there, the comparisons to the iconic Swedes do continue, through the winding 12 minutes of ‘Solace of Oblivion’. Thick death metal riffing, shot through with a wistful black metal atmosphere and the opposing forces of brutality and fragility definitely conjure up images of mid period Opeth. But while those guys have moved away into ACTUAL prog rock, Piah Mater can take the genre into new places.

The chunky start to ‘Sprung from Weakness’ soon begins to spiral outwards, and the complexity begins to take form. The musicianship here is wonderful, and the contrasts between the heaviness and the glacially calm sections is never jarring. This is ambitious, sprawling, and can sometimes feel a little overbearing. But it lessens with every listen, and you begin to anticipate the changes and prepare. Opeth may loom heavily upon them, but Piah Mater aren’t afraid to use this as impetus to create something that could be just as good. ‘Earthbound Ruins’ would have fitted comfortably on ‘Ghost Reveries’, and that just speaks to the quality.

It is great to hear a Brazilian band that is pushing the boundaries and not just rehashing raw black/death or Sepultura. Piah Mater are a triumph of original thinking, and ‘The Wandering Daughter’ reminds me of progressive death metal giants in their prime. This is a great record, and should be recognised.

‘Restus Corpus’ is the debut EP from Brazilian death metallers Blaspherion, and it is a short sharp kick in the gut. Lasting not even ten minutes, these South Americans lay waste with primal death metal carnage, and they self released back in April last year.

After the eerie, uneasy intro of ‘TransmutaĆ§Ć£o das Almas’, immediately the tearing and skin shreding ravages of ‘Causa Mortis’ come to the fore. This is old school, with a raw and filthy production that renders the band gurgling and fetid. Thrashy riffs power the rabid ‘Restos Corpus’, and a dense growling vocal performance suits the simplicity of the execution. It is the kind of debut that bands want to make; setting out their agenda immediately with great skill and strength.

Blaspherion have made death metal here that is both primal, gurgling and yet chug heavy in its riffing too. Memorable and ancient sounding, ‘Restus Corpus’ is almost too short to appreciate immediately. Repeated spins unlocks all the raw, ugly death you could want.

Brazilian atmospheric doom/sludge from one of my favourite record labels?! SOLD! Transcending Obscurity are bringing us this slab of massive riffs ‘Terraforming’, which is a pleasure to find as your immediate thoughts on South American metal is howling, raging Satanic black/death/thrash. Isn’t nice when your perceptions are shattered? ‘Terraforming’ is out on the 15th November.

The groaning strength of ‘Matriarch’ begins this record with a swaying riff and a lurching, atonal melody that floats below cavernous roars. Think of the mournful power of Swallow the Sun, and couple that with a rusty Louisiana groove and scowling guttural roars and you’ll be about there. The atmospheric ‘Unearthly Glow’ is an early highlight, and I like how Jupiterian mix a sense of the vast beauty of death/doom with the ugliness of sludge. The title track is dark and creepy ambience, benefitting greatly from an appearance from Maurice de Jong of Gnaw Their Tongues.

‘Terraforming’ is a titanic record, built upon massive riffs that appear from the darkness like cliffs of granite. A record that has a deep sense of uneasiness about it, whether in the vocals from hell or the odd melodies seeping out of the guitars. Jupiterian are vast, primal and unbearably heavy at points. Shimmering black metal moments in ‘Us and Them’ are a mere example of the atmospheric, limitless possibilities hidden with ‘Terraforming’. Mark your calendar for this one.

Brazilian power trio Necromante feed from the same darkness that powered Mystifier, Sarcofago and Impurity, and their debut full length ‘The Magickal Presence of Occult Forces’ comes from a decade of honing their art through demos and live rituals. Iron Bonehead is bringing this one to us, and it is due to drop on the 6th of October this year.

The creepy, flute led intro piece is a jarring misdirection for what is to come, which is mainly first wave black metal but with a subtle heavy metal slant to it. ‘Secret Eye’ feels like early Venom, while there’s a gloomy majestic to the rabid ‘Neckrokosmick Pentagram’. Necromante know exactly how to inject a dose of early NWOBHM into their riffing, and it is a delight to hear some of the earworm riffs hiding under a blackened coating. They lack the chaotic savagery of many of their countrymen, but that is not to their detriment. In fact, it feels great to be listening to a band that appreciate the more subtle take on proto black metal.

Tracks like ‘Initiation’ and my favourite, ‘A’arab Zaraq’, show how an early take on black metal doesn’t need to be all howling ‘Bathory’ clones. Necromante have absorbed as much Venom and Bathory as they have Angel Witch and Diamond Head, and this blend is a refreshing gem of a record. ‘The Magickal Presence of Occult Forces’ is an absolute joy to listen to, and you should make sure it finds its way into your collection.

The rerelease of Brazilian thrashers Mutilator’s 1987 record ‘Immortal Force’ allows me to comes across a band I’ve never heard of before. Invariably, these kind of ‘legendary’ bands are ones that have been and gone for a number of years, and their records get lost to time. Thankfully, Greyhaze Records are bringing us this slab of 80s South American riff worship, out now on CD and LP.

Opener ‘Memorial Stone Without a Name’ is a relentless rampage through some of the finest raw thrash that the South American continent has brought us. You can feel their kinship with fellow countrymen Sepultura, particularly the latter’s ‘Schizophrenia’ record. The crazed thrashing of the excellent ‘War Dog’s is a riff lover’s wet dream, while the relentless battering of the title track reaches a perfect crescendo with its Kerry King-esque solo. This record is 30 years old, and still beats the shit out of some of the more modern blackened thrash out today.

There’s many things you can say about these ‘lost classics’, but the most important thing about ‘Immortal Force’ for me is the sheer energy and enthusiasm for a genre that has grown into a bloated, sometimes boring mess. There are still plenty of possibilities within thrash to make something this damn good, and hopefully this gem will spawn us some more good bands again!

Brazilian thrash you say? Well, that’s a country with some pedigree when it comes to that genre and Blackened look to be the next big thing to come hell for leather from South America. They’ve been honing their craft since 2013, and have recently signed with great German label Witches Brew for their debut release, ‘Truth Behind Destruction’.

The sounds of war ripple from your speakers as opener ‘The Front Remains’ launches, a frantic nod to the likes of Slayer and Anthrax immediately. There’s a punkish vibe to it too, but through every song runs a deep Bay Area influence. The infectious ‘Chemical Terror’ writhes with vintage thrash energy, and that’s the most endearing part about Blackened; they FEEL like a 80s classic thrash band despite being so new! Everything from the awesome intro to ‘Into Lunacy’ to the galloping ‘Stay Wasted’, Blackened tick every box.

For me, it could do with a slightly crisper production, but I suppose the rougher mix adds to the charm. ‘Truth Behind Destruction’ is a record that enschews all modernity in thrash, channelling everything that was great about 80s thrash bands and inducing much headbanging. This is a band who’ll send a pit crazy in an instant, and on a label that brought us Toxic Holocaust and Gama Bomb, Blackened are right at home!