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I’m familiar with Banished From Inferno already for some time, as there was time, when I was digging through every project, which Rogga Johansson has contributed in and this master of guttural vocals and guitar death metal slaughter has been involved in Banished From Inferno’s self titled debut MCD back in 2008, but to be honest, I didn’t like this material so much. Anyway, Rogga is not in the band anymore, but when I thought that Banished From Inferno has split up, I’ve found the news about the release of “Minotaur”, which is the debut full length album of the band. At the present the line up consist of the Spanish metalheads only (did I mention that only Rogga was Swedish while the rest of the musicians were from Spain? No? Ok, I do so now then…) and I know some of the bands they’re also involved like Godus, Machetazo, Human Mincer, Scent of Death or Balmog – they’re all fine underground black, death or grind core bands. But after the boring debut MCD I didn’t expect much from “Minotaur”, luckily then Banished From Inferno proved me wrong, as the album is really cool.
Musically “Minotaur” did not surprise me so much; it is exactly as I thought it will be. Banished From Inferno slaughters the old school Swedish death metal, but of course that won’t surprise or make anyone crazy anymore, as there are dozens of such bands at the time (already in Spain we have also Graveyard, Unconsecrated, Mass Burial and Morbid Flesh!) and such music became just too explored recently. But that doesn’t mean that Banished From Inferno sucks, because personally I actually liked “Minotaur”. Who cares if the music isn’t much original or whatever, as long as it kicks ass? Those Spaniards aren’t pussies, they know what to do to kill with the sound and luckily they managed to compose some decent, catchy death metal tunes, which instantly force into the maniacal headbanging and fist throwing. And I cannot say anything bad about it. I like the groove and rhythmic these songs have, the dynamics of these songs, that they’re sometimes fast, but often rather mid paced… in the final parts it even gets more harmonious and melodic, especially in „Twilight Grotesque” and the epic „Sorrows of the Earth”, which ends the album – these two tracks will catch your attention with more atmospheric approach (and the use of keyboards!). Anyway, the whole music of Banished From Inferno can remind you the likes of Facebreaker, Ribspreader, Intestinal, Interment, plus it also reminds me a lot some of the newer things, which Kam Lee does, like The Grotesquery and The Skeletal, which is also very cool. Banished From Inferno is really cool, if you ask me, I liked “Minotaur” quite much, even the closing cover of Hellhammer, which appears after a short silence was a real surprise (especially that the booklet doesn’t mention “Messiah” in the tracklist). Spaniards played this song in more epic and almost bombastic way, with keyboards, which underline the atmosphere of it, so it does sounds just damn cool.
Alongside their companions in Graveyard, Banished From Inferno hail from Spain, a country that’s currently offering some considerably good death metal in the vein of old Swedish death metal masters. (Not to mention Teitanblood, who play some of the most evil black/death I’ve heard in a good long while). Banished From Inferno don’t stray far from this influence, playing extremely aggressive death metal that isn’t only influenced by bands such as Dismember, so in this sense their take on DM is more interesting and varied than that of loads of other bands that are cheaply rehashing the Swedeath sound. The four members that comprise the band are no newcomers to the metal scene, as some of them have been or are in bands like Wormed, Graveyard, and Machetazo, all of which are worth checking out. Banished From Inferno’s vicious, groove-laden death metal style that links Swedeath but also introduces their own little preferences and elements sets them apart from other bands today, and puts them in line for having a promising future; it’s a shame more people aren’t even aware of their existence, and their debut full-length was largely overlooked in 2011.
After a two-minute long intro song, what listeners will immediately notice is that Banished From Inferno are far heavier than your typical Swedeath-worshipping band. The Swedish influence is, as first, only present in the production, dominated by a corpulent guitar tone and a heavy sound overall. A blast beat introduces the album and rolls into fast double-bass work, pounding on the listener restlessly and soon enough being met by the highly entertaining morbid and evil death growls brought about by the vocalist. These are a standout on the album, and once they come into play, the listener will no doubt find himself headbanging ferociously. Banished From Inferno also allow for a heavy groove influence to match up their whole sound, mixing together with occasional mid-paced tempos to absolutely crush the listener. Chaotic death metal is what BFI are all about; and they do more than a good job in beating the listener into a bloody pulp, with the vocals constantly spewing venom and the guitars strumming along to different-styled riffs that make for a varied result. Quick little guitar solos can also be heard on some of the songs--“Fall Eternal (The Lengian Chronicles – chapter I)” has fantastic solos--and some eerie melodies are also seen throughout (“Purgatory Drains”).
In place of a prominent, exclusively d-beat driven style (although there are some d-beats played sporadically), the drums are always switching things up, as are the guitars. Blast beats are commonplace on this album, as well as mid-paced mosh beats (“Praise the Rotten Dead” or “Minotaur,” the latter being one hell of a track) that trot along nicely with the heavy guitars. Banished From Inferno usually sound like a cross between Bolt Thrower grooves/grindcore/brutal-ish death metal, and you can work it out for yourself that that would result in a wholly devastating bastard of an album. “Minotaur” is all-around extremely solid in all of its facets, and instead of listening to outright Swedeath-whores, you’re better off listening to this album. It flows extremely nicely, working its way up with alternations of fast tracks/mid-paced grooves and having a rewarding variety in its songs, as well as melodies seen here and there. If you’re a fan of manic, vile, pounding and aggressive death metal, you won’t be at all disappointed.