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Morbid and ghastly are the shrieks conjured through the throat of Ebola as he ushers in a musical nightmare of unholy black metal. Spain's Cryfemal display a penchant for primitive and brutally fierce black metal that brings to mind Darkthrone and Burzum in some respects, but these influences are stripped down even further and stink of rot and decay as if they have been entombed within damp crypts and then resurrected from their unquiet slumber.
You can hear the Darkthrone and Burzum influences perfectly mirrored against one another in El Tormento De Cesar El Ahorcado. Transilvanian Hunger-inspired riffs with the prerequisite guitar fuzz burst forth from the tomb on Black Metal II, my favorite track on the album. Whereas a bone-chilling dissonant riff haunts and freezes all who hear it on Abominable Desolation before giving way to a nostalgic clean acoustic guitar passage which is then mirrored in a harsh wall of sound. Depressive elements surface throughout the album, but are most evident on Apocalpsis and La Muerta Podrida where the guitar cries forth sorrowful chords and notes of sadness.
While Cryfemal wears its Nordic influences on its sleeve, Ebola cakes it all with layers of dry dust from the catacombs beneath Spanish cathedrals, adding a distinctly individual touch to his style. The drumming on this album is insanely tinny and the cymbals hiss over much of the dissonant guitar riffs. Ebola's vocals are a horrendously tortured affair which renders them unique within the underground scene. Graveyard black metal with a force of belief and an undead morbidity is what comprises Cryfemal's fourth full-length album and it manages to fill me with fright and churns the darkness within my heart.
This isn’t a biased review. The fact that this band comes from Spain doesn’t affect me, because although I am a Spaniard you will never see me talking in a good manner about the bands that come from there. In fact, I hate most of the bands. They lack the spirit, the originality which one can easily find in other countries. There are, of course, many good bands such as Dantalion or the folk-ish and somewhat ridiculous Saurom… But washing away the dirt that the most renowed band in this country, Mägo De Oz, has spread across the nation, will take generations. I’m serious, just look at their picture here in the Archives.
But Cryfemal are a black metal band, so it should be different, shouldn’t it? Yes, in fact this album shines in this desert. It seems quite impossible to me, but it’s true. It is fresh, original, and of course desperate, grim… and everything you could say about a depressive black metal band. The tempos vary from fast to slow. When they get fast, it can turn into a destructive killing machine, and when things go slow, one can think about bands such as the great, great Leviathan.
This album doesn’t get old easily; the melodies are as great a BM band from other country could offer. In Spain there aren’t many black metal bands, so it’s quite strange to find a band like Cryfemal. I listen to a lot of bands that belong to this genre, and believe me when I say that this is one of the best releases you will find out there. It’s such a shame they aren’t as famous as bands such as Watain, which I consider also good.
Cryfemal offers pure black metal; you won’t find any thrash metal nor death metal influences. In fact, the disc offers a sinister concoction of grimness, darkness and desperation. The depressive black metal influences are always present, something that submerges the listener in a world of pain that other releases (often releases from famous bands) can only imitate without being so great.
The only things that keep this album from getting the full mark are the voice and the lyrics. The voice sounds desperate, yes… But it is weak sometimes, it should have some more intensity. If it resembled a little Wrest’s or Malefic’s voice, it would be absolutely perfect. The other thing are the lyrics. They are incredibly boring and repetitive.
Sometimes it seems Ebola isn’t capable of rhyming any word apart from “oscuridad”, “tinieblas” and “infierno” (darkness and hell). I miss the Wrest’s ability of writing great lyrics… But I guess it’s OK.
I recommend this album to every black metal and depressive black metal fan: its flaws can be ignored, specially if you don’t speak Spanish. I hope the next album will be better!