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It’s been seven long years since the last full length release of Mexican death metal horde Drowned in Blood, but the band returned last year with their sophomore album, Deathbringer. With an album art that bears a striking resemblance to such Danish bands as The Cleansing and Corpus Mortale, it leaves me wondering if Drowned in Blood can provide me with an experience as intense as the aforementioned have with their recent releases.
Fortunately, the band more than manages to do so on Deathbringer. Album opener Makers of Ravage gives a nice cinematic intro to the listener, but as soon as the first notes hit the listener, one knows that he’s in for one hell of a blasting ride. The first thing that one notices is how speed is of the essence over here, as drummer Khaos lives up to his moniker, punishing his kit relentlessly, not unlike his Danish counterparts in Corpus Mortale or the Polish style of death metal in Azarath or Infernal War, leaving one to wonder where he gets all his energy from, as he barely slows down at all from the start right till the end of the album.
The intensity in the album is also upped by the furious riffing of Vampirif and Nifelheim, who on top of the usual brutal death metal-style chugging at times provide a slightly blackened touch as well. The technical and complex playing that the axe-wielding duo engages in at times, along with the vocal styling of Nifelheim even brings about some slight Dying Fetus and Suffocation comparisons, if only more urgent and intense with the battery of Khaos that lasts the entirety of the album. The leads on the album are probably some of the more sane aspects of Deathbringer, with some sense of melody that is injected amidst the wanton chaos.
While the speed of drummer Khaos on Deathbringer might be the highlight for speed maniacs, this is also unfortunately the potential downfall of the album. The speed and energy that Khaos displays throughout the entire album may be extremely impressive, the non-stop blasting leaves one feeling rather numb after a while, leaving one wondering if there were any point of the album and the band other than to show off the pushing of human limits on the drums. This is especially so with the extremely high mix of the drums compared to the rest of the instruments. And honestly, the tone of the snare bugged the hell out of me as well as the album progressed.
Ultimately though, the talent that the band has displayed on Deathbringer is extremely impressive, and despite the mind-numbing blasting that Drowned in Blood tends to indulge in, Deathbringer is still an extremely enjoyable album, even if it’s just for a nice moshing and headbanging session.
The band’s name and the title say it all: death metal. This is my first meeting with this Mexican monster, but now I can speak courageously that I will remember it for a long time, and despite “Deathbringer” not bringing anything new to my metal world, it's for sure these tunes are worth the trouble. The base of their music is the creativity of Brazilian death metal outfits, especially Krisiun (and “Conquerors of Armageddon” era) being the main influence. But for me personally the lack of originality isn’t an obstacle during the listen because Drowned in Blood produces death metal in a really good and devastating way, and this is the most important factor.
The production of the album sounds really solid except for maybe the vocal lines that should be louder a bit. George uses a rather semi-growl that is quite articulate and in my opinion he mixes two ways of singing: Peter from Vader and Alex from Krisiun. Fortunately, it makes the final result really good. The groundwork for this destructive force coming from the speakers is the work of unmerciful drums that can effectively press down upon the listener. The note “play fast or die” taken from the booklet is a kind determinant of the things to come. Mexicans bathe in really fast tempos, and when they slow down it is the very short moment to strike again with a crushing drum cannonade and guitar riffs. What is interesting is that the whole album didn’t bore me, and even I liked the way they put some short intros (from the movie “Saw”) into the tracks, which takes the music into another sick dimension. Good move! “Deathbringer” is maintained on a rather equal level. There is no weak song, and the opening song, “Makers of Ravage” (what a proper title!), especially shows that in this band. Each song has a guitar lead, yet some of them have quite the memorable group of riffs (“Thirst for Vengeance”, “Through the Agony”).
So thirty minutes passes by extremely fast. I wrote there is no filler in the ‘proper’ songs. “Deathbringer” is ended by a bonus instrumental track called “After Death”, lasting three minutes and I do not know if it fits into the album's entirety. Maybe I cannot state that it is a mistake here, but it seems to be unnecessary softening of the remainder. For sure it is quite sorrowful, yet it gives… hope? For what???
One thing is certain, and it is that these Mexicans created a bloody piece of death metal based on checked patterns. Even the music reminds me of some big metal names aforementioned above, and I recommend this crew to every death metalhead. “Deathbringer” has everything to conquer the senses: brutality, merciless blasts, expressive guitar riffs, and optimal length. What else do I need? Just push the play button and with the first words coming from the opening intro: “you can’t hide…”, I drown in the territory of "Deathbringer", remembering that there is no escape.