Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reino Ermitaño – Veneratión Del Fuego: some very fine doom from Peru

Reino Ermitaño isn’t exactly the most prolific band in the world; Veneratión Del Fuego is only their fourth record in 10 years of existence, and it’s the first one since 2008’s Rituales Interiores. But again, who really needs an album every year, since now we all have around 100 “favorite bands”? 

And Reino Ermitaño isn’t just another retro-doom band. There are several reasons for that; first, a lady handles vocals: Tania Duarte does an excellent job behind the mic, with that epic desperate feeling. Second reason, Reino Ermitaño come from Peru, not the first South American country you think of when mentioning Metal.
And the awesome thing with Reino Ermitaño is that they do not just rely on these "labels" to claim they're special, they utilize and exploit them perfectly. The Spanish vocals sang by Tania Duarte fit the music perfectly and add some mystique to the music.

Veneratión Del Fuego, kicks off in a very typical manner: “Quimera” and “El Sueño Del Condor” are two classical and very fine pieces of doom rock, played the old-school way, with a very fuzzy and gloomy sound, as if you were listening through a thick layer of smoke. 

But things start to be really exiting when third track “Sobre Las Ruinas” starts. That’s another classic doom song here, but it ends in a fantastic psychedelic orgy of guitar solos and keys. That's probably a contribution brought by new guitarist Eloy Arturo.
And things just keep on getting better, especially when the 9-min epic “Cuando La Luz Te Encuentre”, comes in with a violin  that pops out of nowhere in the exact right moment. But that’s not all, since the song also contains what appears to be a drum solo in the middle of it, before a totally psychedelic finish. Amazing song!

The rest of the album is just as fantastic, with some classic songs like “Soy El Lobo” and “El Rito”. These tunes are just a lesson of what traditional doom should sound like; they have the perfect sound, the cool riffs, the killer breaks and the psychedelic solos all over them. The ending of “El Rito” really reminded me of early Sabbath.  Can't really think of a better influence!

However, there is one more track that needs to be highlighted here; another 9-min epic song: “Sangre India”. This one displays some cool traditional elements that prove how much Reino Ermitaño perfectly use their heritage. That folk moment in the middle of the song is just AMAZING. Not to mention that it is probably the first time I appreciated listening to pan flute. Guys; believe me, nothing to do with the boys coverning Celine Dion songs in the subway halls. This cool folk moment transforms into another acoustic psychedelic part, before the electric guitars start roaring again. This song is one of my favorite ones on the record, and one of my favorite songs this year !

Reino Ermitaño is truly a fantastic doom band; that managed to combine some very classic doom with elements from their Peruvian roots. Nothing too flashy or progressive here, just some very fine doooom.  

I probably keep on repeating that but I totally believe in what I’m saying: stop accepting what important metal labels keep on feeding us every month (although they have a lot of good stuff, no doubt about that) and go looking for original and different bands!
I Hate Records is probably a good place to start if you're into doom: last year the label released the fantastic Wounded Kings album In The Chapel Of The Black Hand. This year however, their highlight album is clearly going to be Veneratión Del Fuego!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Start your summer the brutal way with Chaos Inception, Hypnosia and the mighty Massacre

Summer has finally arrived and I bet all you wanna do is listen to cool hard-rock and chill around with a cold drink. Or even worse: you wanna listen to the radio and put your brain on hold with some easy-listening stuff.
Well, to counter that, here are 3 different yet coolish BRUTAL releases that will remind you how much heavy is good, and how much you can’t live without heavy.

 The artwork is basically as awesome as the music: typical nevertheless amazing.

I really want to start with the newcomers CHAOS INCEPTION. In fact, they’re not exactly newcomers since “The Abrogation” is their second LP, but that is the first time I hear about the Alabama-based band. This record is Lavadome Production’s third release; and man, what a release! The Abrogation is an impressive Brutal-Death record, with all the necessary ingredients the genre requires: extreme brutality, technicality, smooth songwriting and that boiling sense of urgency that will hang by the skin of your teeth all along these insane 30 minutes. 
Obviously, you’ll need to enjoy brutality to appreciate such a record. But if you do like your riffs fast, sharp and technical, there is no way you can miss Chaos Inception. Their music reminded me of old-school acts like Morbid Angel, Krisiun and Incantation. The riffs are fast, brutal, technical and they just keep on changing! I also need to underline the top-notch production; crystal clear yet very organic and “warm”. Really appreciated that release although I can’t pretend I’m a specialist when it comes to Brutal Death Metal. Songs like “Hammer Of The Infidel” and “The Exterminati” (so heavy with a fantastic melodic lead) stand out, as their songwriting skills are definitely one of the band’s top assets.
Everything is very typical here, but this is some very fine piece of work, done with passion, dedication and truckloads of talent.

The second record I’d like to mention today is a reissue out on the LOVELY I Hate Records. Horror Infernal is a compilation by Sweden’s Hypnosia. This release comprises “The Crushed Existence” and “The Storms” demos, plus “The Violent Intensity” mini-album from 1999 and 3 bonus tracks (“Outbreak Of Evil”-Sodom cover, “My Belief”-Possessed cover, and a live track). This Scandinavian Thrash Metal band has split in 2000, after the release of their only LP “Extreme Hatred”. I hate Records have remastered these songs and the result is really outstanding; powerful and totally rough, exactly what you need for Thrash Metal. I’m actually not surprised to see I Hate Records releasing that material, since this is typically the music label founder Peter Lindén loves (just listen to his band Terrorama and you’ll understand). This is furious Scandinavian Thrash Metal (see my blog about Nekromantheon for a definition of Scandinavian Thrash), driven by unbelievable riffs. Hysterical, fast, furious, heavy, punk, aggressive, harsh; it’s all in there. You like Thrash? Then you like Hypnosia, Period. Check out the songs “Undead” and “Haunting Death”, probably some of the best Thrash songs you could imagine

Nice Interview with the band on Voices From the Darkside Webzine right here

Although I'm a bit late, I couldn't miss the reissue of Massacre’s ultimate Classic “From Beyond” out on Earache. This edition comes with a red version of Repka’s sublime artwork, a nice poster (so old-school to insert a poster in a CD!) and most importantly, this release comprises the 1992 “Inhuman condition” EP, that has become pretty hard to find.
What could I possibly say about this record? It’s a classic, no doubt about that and about the fact that it has definitely been underrated. The line-up still looks like a supergroup today, with Terry Butler on bass, Bill Andrews on drums, Rick Rozz on guitar and Kam Lee for the screams. Just go to Metal Archives and look at these guys Curriculum to reconsider your definition of “super-group”. 
Anyways, here’s a fantastic collection of old-school Death Metal; that simply crushes all the new bands that are trying to recapture that specific sound. I just love the riffs, the crazy rhythm section -technical yet so instinctive- and also the lyrics, so typical of the 90s! There is an immense amount of classic songs here, like ‘Biohazard”, “Chamber Of Ages” (coolest intro for that one, with those cheesy effects), “Corpse Grinder”… 
The “Inhuman Condition” EP is no exactly as impressive, but it does contain some awesome tunes, like the title song or the Venom Cover “Warhead” featuring guest vocals by Cronos himself.
All in all, that is one essential release that you must posses if you like Death Metal. Also note that the band has actually reunited and is currently touring with Rick Rozz, Terry Butler Mike Mazzonetto on drums and Edwin Webb on vocals.