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Italian death metal has really been on the rise the past few years, but Genoa's Antropofagus has been kicking around the underground since the late nineties. The band started out with a raw, brutal death metal sound, but after a decade-long period of dormancy Antropofagus has returned with a more modern technical style that's not too distant from fellow countrymen, Hour of Penance. Antropofagus' latest release, Architecture of Lust, continues the development of this sound.
While Antropofagus' updated style is not exactly unique, the band is certainly a shining example of technical brutality done right. Overall, Architecture of Lust is intense and nearly suffocating. At first the album feels like it might turn out to be a one-trick pony; constant blasting, blurs of technical riffing, and deep death grunts abound. Yet Architecture of Lust expands and progresses in sound as the album continues. Brief grooving moments pop up and offer respite from the blasting and the technicality. Dark, Behemoth-style melodies rear their ugly heads upon occasion and give the mind something to hold onto before the songs dive back into more blazing riffs. Sweep-picked fills and the occasional solo add even more spice to the recipe. The drums are a constant barrage of blasting, yet they have enough quick changes to keep even the most seasoned death metal listener's head spinning. This is an album that tends to grow on you rapidly with each listen. Songs quickly begin to distinguish themselves from each other and before you know it, they stick in your head. Architecture of Lust proves that Antropofagus can definitely hang with the best in the genre.
As an added bonus, the majority of Architecture of Lust's lyrics are based on Clive Barker's Hellraiser. The chains and the Lament Configuration (puzzle box) on the album cover should be a dead giveaway for any horror fiend. If you're a fan of Italian death metal and Hellraiser, you've just struck gold. Despite the fact that horror lyrics have been done to death, Architecture of Lust's focus on Hellraiser helps the band stand out from the pack somewhat.
Even though Antropofagus may not sound terribly original or noteworthy to the average listener, genre fans should take note. Architecture of Lust is highly recommended to brutal death metal die-hards and is sure to be one of the best brutal releases of the year. If you're a fan of Italian death metal, you need Architecture of Lust. If you also happen to be a fan of Hellraiser, this album is downright mandatory. If you like what you hear, work your way back through the Antropofagus catalog. There's also a five-way split from 2011 and a reissue of the band's first full-length available on Comatose; both are worthy of your attention.
Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com
With only four releases under their belt, one would never expect for Antropofagus to have been in existence since 1997. I first heard about this band last year when they appeared on a five-way split with Mass Infection, Putridity, Prion, and Infected Flesh called “Split Torso Trauma“. Each band put two tracks on the split and I enjoyed Antropofagus‘s contribution far more than the others, particularly their song ‘Eternity To Devour’. As I saw the obvious homage to the classic horror film Hellraiser in the cover art, I wished that the Cenobites would appear and give me that thrill of being torn limb from limb whilst headbanging to “Architecture of Lust“. I have high hopes for this one, so please walk with me as I methodically dissect this slab of brutal death metal.
With nine songs that clock in just over thirty four minutes, Antropofagus are in no mood to take prisoners when it comes to “Architecture of Lust“. The reason I say this is their style of Italian brutal death metal is very similar to that of Hour Of Penance and the aforementioned Putridity. One thing that people should understand when heading into this album is that you should expect nothing but a relentless onslaught.
From beginning to end it does feel like the band is playing one very long song (with the exception of ‘Sadistic Illusive Puritanism’, which feels like an homage to the groovier side of Aeon). Normally this would really grate on my nerves if you aren’t Bolt Thrower or Inhume, but Antropofagus does an exceptional job at making it all very interesting to listen to. If there is one thing that the band certainly has going for them, it is the incredible speed that they repeatedly put on display, particularly due to the major talent of Davide “Brutal Dave” Billia (drums; Putridity, Septycal Gorge). Another element that I found to be both entertaining and intriguing is the use of the flanger effect used on Tya’s vocals at some points, which always makes me think back to the classic Morbid Angel track, ‘Where The Slime Live’.
Even though “Architecture of Lust” gets a lot right, it also gets some things wrong. First off, I already mentioned the lack of variation in the song-writing. It really does not bother me too much, but there are times where I wish Antropofagus had been a little more adventurous. I think this could be a real drawback for some people that aren’t as keen to supersonic brutal death metal like I am. Second, it is the lack of bass in the overall mix. The guitars, drums, and vocals are very thick and pronounced, but Jacopo Rossi’s bass is no where to be found for the majority of the record. Even when you do hear him by his lonesome in ‘The Lament Configuration’, the tone is ridiculously weak. I really believe the sound engineer could have done something about its presence, but the tone lays solely on Jacopo himself. Third, in the beginning paragraph I mentioned the song ‘Eternity To Devour’ from the “Split Torso Trauma” album, and it should be noted that it was re-recorded for “Architectures of Lust“. Unfortunately, I don’t think it has as much ‘bite’ to it as the original track did, but that’s just my personal taste.
All-in-all, “Architecture of Lust” is standard fanfare for brutal death metal that does have some good ideas throughout, but it isn’t something you will find yourself continuously coming back to, especially if you are looking for something that tries to set the bar higher than the rest.
Originally written for Metal Blast: http://www.metalblast.net/2012/04/antropofagus-architecture-of-lust/
Since the release of the band's debut full length album in 1999, Italy's Antropofagus has gone rather quiet, and this year sees them breaking the silence with a brand new album in more than 12 years, entitled Architecture of Lust, featuring an almost completely new lineup, other than original guitarist and founder, Meatgrinder.
There are usually two main possibilities when a band comes back from such a long hiatus, with an album that far exceeds expectations or one that usually ends up disappointing older fans of the band, denting the band's legacy. Fortunately then, Architecture of Lust is my first contact with the band and there are no comparisons that can be done with the band's 13-year old album. The band, Architecture of Lust presents a more technical side of the band's songwriting all the while retaining the old school brutal touch in the music, and this is evident right from the relentless blasting that hits the listener from the start of the title track Architecture of Lust.
Musically, the band is somewhat reminiscent to bands like their New York counterparts Suffocation, especially so with the riffing patterns of guitarist Meatgrinder and the throaty growls of Tya, though songs like Sadistic Illusive Puritanism reminds the listener somewhat of later Bloodbath material. The element of brutality is further upped by the ruthless drumming of Davide, who punishes the drums relentlessly. His stamina is also impressive, going at full speed throughout the album and making them blast beats sound like child's play to him. Meatgrinder also proves that the years of Antropofagus' dormancy hasn't caused his skills to rust, with the complex riffs that he come up with, often punctuated by equally technical wankery in the middle of these riffs such as on Sanguinis Bestiae Solium, constantly throwing listeners nice surprises. The "real" lead guitar parts or solos though are often contrary to the complex and chaotic style and provides some sense of melody, and this gives a nice contrast to the overall feel of the album. Unfortunately though, the bass of Jacopo tended to be buried in the mix, and though it provides the low end growl that sometimes are audible, it would have been nice to hear his presence more as well.
The production quality of the album as well, is rather clean and nicely done, and allowing the guitars and drums to really have a strong presence was definitely enjoyable for the most part, giving Architecture of Lust an extremely powerful sound. The fact that most of the songs do not drag on for too long also helps to ensure that songs do not lose their impact, hitting the guts of the listener quickly and effectively.