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With AssassiNation, Krisiun is once again at it, with it being an attempt at speed and brutality unlike any other. And they succeed. Or at least manage to be very fast and heavy. If you are looking for unconventional death metal, look away, this is not for you. But if you want simple minded, well, brainless death metal that does that job very good, then this is definitely for you. So what does AssassiNation offer in terms of music and composition?
The instrumentation! Well, the guitar is mostly chugging away at riffs we have all heard before, doing very little to impress. It does however add some flavor with the leads, though they as well could be perhaps more over the top, like the drums. And how about the drums? They are typical for Krisiun, fast and relentless blasting using just the most simplest rhythms possible, but it works and can be fairly entertaining. As for the bass guitar, it chugs away as it was a guitar, playing thick and dense riffs that add much velocity and volume to the music. These are very simple, but adds a nice deep and trembling feel to the music. And the vocals? Probably best described as harsh, deep singing. Not growling, maybe roaring would be better. They are easy to decipher, but can become repetitive after some time.
The mixing and production, both which are very good. Maybe a little too good in regards to the production. The album feels a little too clean for this type of music, but it is not bad, just a little excessive. As for songwriting, everything play out rather simple and predictable. But it is better to have simple, straight forward song structures than say, technically advanced but badly structured songs. Of course, some of the songs also fail in the regard of being simple, predictable yet good at being a straight forward assaults, sadly. Chemistry between the members is top notch though, everything is timed and perfected, making the three brothers come off more as ungodly machines with perfect timing, than human beings.
The problem with this album is really easy, it has been done before. By the same band. And that would be more than okay if they had really pushed the songwriting and instrumentation to a level beyond what they have done in the past. But sadly, they do not do so. Krisiun have somewhat regressed here. But within the confines of this album alone, it is far from an optimal representation of the band, but at least a decent one.
Stand-out tracks: Refusal, H.O.G (House of God), Natural Genocide.
As brutal death metal goes, there isn't an awful lot of room to experiment, other than the famous examples of bands who use particular lead styles to break the mould (such as Nile), you're either low-end, fast and heavy, or you aren't brutal.
Really, Krisiun have never been the greatest of death metal bands, but there has always been massive promise from this three-piece, particularly from guitarist Moyses Kolesne. They have always had the real fist-pumping aggression and power that some DM bands seem to lack and AssassiNation is no different, but there's a certain new element that's been brought into play...
Before I go into depth about this release I'd like to note that AssassiNation is dedicated to the memory of Pantera guitar legend Dimebag Darrell Abbot and Vader drummer Krzysztof Raczkowski (aka 'Doc).
In opener Bloodcraft, there's a real distinctive sound which blends together the crushing rhythms and aggravated vocals of countrymen Sepultura and the lead mayhem of bands like Slayer and Vader. Of course, not all the lead guitar work is simply whammy bar rape, there are some very nice diminished licks and tremelo picked lines which add a little flavour to the admittedly bland bass and rhythm guitar.
Brutal death metal is a demanding genre for a drummer (I mean, look at Flo Mounier...) but the other Kolesne brother, Max, doesn't fail to impress, with tasteful, but plain old kickass use of his bass drums in conjunction with toms. This is the only area which hasn't seemingly succumbed to another new sound in Krisiun - the 'core'.
Listening to H.O.G (House Of God), you could definitely hire the vocalist from Job For A Cowboy to squeal like a pig over some of this. While they pull it off in rather brutal fashion, the rhythms do get very repetitive and, despite great distinct production, it can be hard to tell when a song will end because you can't remember when it started. Perhaps these three need to take some lessons from Meshuggah, learn how to chug like real men.
Remember I said there's something missing? Originality. This album is good fun for a brainless thug who headbangs furiously to death metal CDs he's found in his local CD retailer because he can't get a job, but if you've already encountered titans like Nile, Cryptopsy and Suffocation, there's many better albums to buy than AssassiNation.
Krisiun are the popularizers of a brutal death metal framework which is very unlike the NYDM approach, consisting of extravagant percussion that stresses on double bass and very rapid Morbid Angel-esque riffing and soloing. Before usurping a pretentious semi-epic tone, (which has been better emulated by compatriots Nephasth) Krisiun has used this limited percussive style most effectively on their debut album Black Force Domain.
Ever since, the band has risen into an unjustified godlike status of frontrunners of extreme metal on their homeland, a true affair of national pride for many of their fans. Worldwide recognition for very intense concerts and an ever expanding audience granted the band an early contract with Century Media Records. What is vividly portrayed in an album like AssassiNation (pathetic title gimmick, already used by decadent Sepultura before) is merely the natural consequence of bearing a famous name, lacking artistic commitment and willing to expand the fan base.
The introductory track "Bloodcraft" denounces some of the primary artifices the band will employ in order to advance next to the axis of the radio airwaves; the repetition of very heavy short guitar phrases, over-emphasis in chorus and groove-laden sections. Such resources going to appeal a more mallcore-oriented crowd and the casual listener of "brutal" music. Most of the evil-sounding riffs are merely distant, impotent paraphrases of the band's previous material.
The power trio is even deliberately sacrificing some of the presence of its extravagant drumming, legitimately one of their trademarks, to allow the overly distorted strings to shout as heavy as possible, something which appeared to be the production motto. The guitar essentially becomes another percussion instrument in an already rhythm-oriented style of music. Leads are generally embarrassing random, uninventive droppings.
Vocalist Alex Camargo has grown himself as a proficient growler but generally doesn't have any meaningful message to express; of the few tracks that bare a decent lyrical setup stands "Natural Genocide", concerning tsunamis. The rest is generally generic babble to frighten Christianity. Sometimes the vocals are semi-rapped as in the begginning of "House Of God", just another hallmark of modern death metal acts like Origin or Psycroptic.
A record like this immersed in ear-friendly rhythms represents the appropriate background music for the release of teenage angst; it's pop music disguised as death metal. And as if the album itself did not present enough filler, it contains the inutile percussion instrumental "Summon" attempting to mimic native, south american music.
Not surprisingly, the most spirited track, despite the rock vibe, has the authorship or Motörhead, a cover of "Sweet Revenge". Krisiun on the other hand has failed as stand-alone death metal group once more.
This is the first Krisiun album I have bought but I have quite a bit of experience with brutal death metal. This album is pure power and brutallity. I have to say that this album blew me off my feet.
The first track, 'Bloodcraft', starts with some really powerful drumbeats, and I am surprised the drumset hasn't broken yet. The drumming is also unique - something you wouldn't expect...much like the drumming of Kataklysm. The track has some really fast parts following the fury of the drums, and is quite on-off. Quite a good track, supremely brutal, but nothing really special here.
The second track, 'Natural Genocide', ...hmmm...sounds a little bit like the first, but also a great difference. What I heard was no-frills brutal death metal, and this is probably one of the best songs on the album. I thought the vocals were superb, and amazing. Alex Camargo is sure a superb vocalist.
The third track, 'Vicious wrath', is probably the second best song on the album, second to track 7, 'Suicidal Savagery'. It is very much brutal death metal, but these guys take it to the next level. Krisiun has probably set the standard for brutallity. There is great guitar work from Moyses Kolense, but hey, all three brothers are super-talented and their skill is seen throughout the album.
The forth track, 'Refusal', is the track I find quite standard of brutal death metal. Nothing wrong here, and as usual Krisiun are up to speed and brutallity.
The fifth track, 'H.O.G.' is the shortest in terms of lyrics, but the song itself is also nothing great, but still good nevertheless.
'Father's perversion'...track 6. Now that's an amazing track. It's probably the third best song, with complex guitarwork, amazing vocals, superb drumming, but with very depressing lyrics.
'Suicidal Savagery' is the track which shows the band members' talents. In my opinion, this is the best track. It has every aspect of brutal death metal, with a bit of groove. These guys can actually make brutal music groovy! They're more talented than I thought.
'Doomed' is one of the preludes, I expect. It is a short guitar-picking instrumental, which shows Moyses' other side - he is indeed a very talented guitarist. I would place him alongside Dimebag Darrell (R.I.P.), Alex Skolnick (Testament) and Karl Sanders (Nile).
'United in Deception' is quite a piece...it's fast, furious and simply brutal. Only thing I gotta fret about is that the album has only one mood throughout. But at least it isn't some happy-killing mood like the stuff that Macabre make. Rather, its cold, brutal, angry and dark.
'Decimated' has some groove in it, but I would also count it as nothing really special.
'Summon' has some really great percussion work.
Overall, the album is superb - I would give it 80%. What prevents it from being 100% is that the songs all have the same pitch, which makes it hard to distinguish the tracks. And, Krisiun, like Nile and Malevolent Creation, add guitar solos into the mix. What do I love more than guitar solos in death metal! Well, go grab this album before it disappears off the shelf!
One usually associates Brazil with samba and barely clothed girls dancing on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian band Krisiun, however, proves this stereotype to be wrong. The straight, brutal Death Metal they play is light-years away from cheerful carnival music!
We can’t really say that Krisiun likes variability: All songs on “AssassiNation”, except the short instrumental Doomed, is played at high-speed and offer us a demonstration of how Brutal Death should sound like. Titles like Natural Genocide or Suicidal Savagery should give you an idea about what to expect.
The deathmetalized cover of Motörhead’s Sweet Revenge is a nice bonus and fun to listen to.
The production is excellent and emphasizes the great work of drummer Max Kolesne. If you like blast-beats and double-bass attacks you will be served...
The guitar riffs and the few solos brings in a ferocious want to headbang until your heads flies away...
Vocalist Alex Camargo also does a nice job with his powerful growls; nothing really special there, however.
The real problem on “AssassiNation” is the lack of originality of the release. So if you like really good violent Death Metal I warmly recommend you this release. Others may appreciate it for one or two listens...
Originally written for http://www.metalfrenngousseldeng.co.nr