In the thirty-two years since the savage double gut-punch of Reign In Blood (DefJam) and Darkness Descends (Combat), the popularity and aesthetic of Thrash Metal has gone on an undulating journey, from the progressive convolutions of …And Justice For All (Vertigo), through the refining and streamlining of a Persistence of Time (Island), to a decade in the wasteland where ideas and delivery effectively choked in the dust of a seemingly redundant style. Resurrection was found in the party Thrash rebirth headed by the likes of Municipal Waste, and then the more fundamental stylings of Evile and the like. But throughout it all, the Metal underground never lost sight of the devastation that 1986 brutality – the extreme edge of Thrash espoused by Dark Angel, Kreator and Sodom – and the effectiveness of vicious riffing, feral vocals and a relentless battery brings, it’s just that nowadays it’s possible to bring the noise to a wider audience.
Brazil’s Hibria have released their new self-titled album from Test Your Metal Records, fifth in their discography. After having experimenting with their sound with their past release Hibria have returned more to their expected power metal influence though we are treated to heavy grit at times. Iuri Sanson’s soaring vocals backed up by technical guitar solos and drumming really help Hibria stand up against many of the other power metal bands through out the world. Songs such as the first track, ‘Pain’, are evidence of them looking to stand out even more. Much like your average heavy/power metal song until you get past the shredding guitar solo. The guitar work gets a bit more of a groove as it is then accompanied by what sounds like saxophones and trumpets. Unexpected and enjoyable. A risk that definitely paid off.
Abel Carmargo and Renato Osorio’s guitar work help the album as a whole grab the listener’s attention. No shortage of great riffs and technical solos. Whether it‘s high flying power metal or a more aggressive pounding, these two don‘t disappoint. ‘Tightrope’ has just flashes of a thrash vibe to it showing Hibria can definitely play material more aggressive. ‘Legacy’ is purely to showcase their ability to be a pure headbanger. The problem is I find the track to be the most underwhelming on the album. Especially Iuri Sanson‘s attempt at harsh vocals. Overall a disappointing track.
It’s a solid album. I also enjoyed their risk of incorporating the use of saxophones and trumpets during a guitar solo, albeit it felt a bit silly. It may be a bit unique, but not unique enough from other heavy/power metal acts.
Max Cavalera may be more prominently known for his work with Sepultura and more recently Soulfly, but his musical endeavours don’t end there. After a falling out with his brother, Igor Cavalera while still playing in Sepultura, the forming of Cavalera Conspiracy 7 years ago marked their reunion not only personally but also musically. After a three-year break, the brothers return this year with their latest studio album, Pandemonium (Napalm).
Throwing away the older out-and-out groove thrash sound that has marked a large portion of their career, this is distinctly darker. ‘Babylonian Pandemonium’ is a sinister opening, as a low drum echoes over a deep cascade of chanting and dissonant sounds setting the tone before Pandemonium descends into a thrash based cacophony of ideas. The album moves through the usual metal styles, but with hints of more electronic influences surfacing at the edges of the songs. Vocals take a deep menacing sound for this record which is perhaps the most noticeable difference from previous work. Moving back to a more guttural style not heard for a long time, the production drenches this in reverb creating a huge sound that compliments the tribal influences that occasionally creep into the tracks.
Despite the development in sound, the album is really let down by its predictability. Each song takes on an identical structure, starting with riffing, throwing in a solo in the appropriate place and Max shouting the title of the song over and over in the chorus. While this works well for a few songs, 12 tracks later it has become more than a little stale.
Pandemonium may not break much new ground and it doesn’t touch the quality of the work that launched their careers, but it doesn’t really need to as it’s still an enjoyable album that cuts right to the heart of the Brazilian thrashers style.