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Sometimes an album has a good story related to it that makes it stand out in your mind. For Krisiun's Southern Storm, it's a personal story and - as with quite a few of my adventures in metal - the conclusion is a young me sitting in my bedroom farting in terror as something unexpected jumps through my headphones and into my brain. Since Krisiun jumping into your brain is roughly equivalent to receiving electro-convulsive therapy, there is still a small part of me that can't escape the trauma of my first listening experience. I had read a review of previous album AssassiNation in a music magazine, where it was described as "death thrash metal", which sadly led me to the conclusion that I would hear something akin to Hatesphere or even The Haunted, who I was digging at the time and (slightly) fit the death thrash genre. Boy, was I wrong.
What you'll get when you press play on Southern Storm bears little relation to thrash metal unless your idea of thrash is that Kreator were good but needed a lot more double bass drumming or Vader could have been a little more serious. On the death side of things, the sonic brutality of this album makes Cannibal Corpse and Deicide seem lightweight. There is a seriously mean bass guitar tone grunting away at full power practically from start to finish, which might satisfy some death metal bands without even adding guitars into the equation. That comes courtesy of Alex (three brothers, so I don't think it's rude to use first names), who has an equally gruff voice like the bellow of some crusty ancient beast, used mainly at low register to roar out tales of death and destruction, where adjectives like "abysmal" and "holocaustic" (is that a real word?) make frequent appearances. When brother Moyses joins in with guitar, the results are often huge and destructive, smashing concrete riffs down onto the gritty bass and swirling out some more intricate solos in most of the songs. However, the thing that truly makes Krisium fucking heavy is the unending barrage of percussion that rains down from brother Max's kit, particularly the double bass onslaught that a song like 'Bleeding Offers' provides almost to overdose. Apart from having very quick hands, I imagine he must be a great cyclist, since the speed of his feet puts almost everyone else in the game to shame and damages my ears more than a drunk girl with a tongue piercing.
As such, my impression of this album for a long time was merely "loud", but having had time to come to terms with it I can see that there is some skilful playing sitting alongside decent songwriting ideas. The band does have a tendency to smash through parts of songs without consideration for anything but pure heaviness, though from what I've heard of Krisiun's earlier albums this approach has been mediated by some subtler inclusions and more flexibility in terms of pace. There is a deliberate stop-start motif in more than half the songs here, which works fantastically for 'Origin of Terror' to refresh the charging main riff and provide each verse with new impact, though sometimes it becomes a purely rhythmic exercise, adding no particular excitement or enjoyment to the song. I find that the band return to similar tricks too often, robbing songs further down the album of their impact, especially the prevalence of those stop-start bridges. It is conceivable that some listeners might savour those sections, but I would imagine most are more attracted to the riffs, some of which surge through in tremolo-picked scales and others of which chug briskly, utterly bulldozing everything in their path. The latter is Krisiun's most successful move, because there is no resisting the momentum of the riff in 'Twisting Sights', even if there is more brutal fare to be found in other places.
Some of the songs branch off from the overt percussive heaviness and rhythmic shifts, which happily results in some music for the brain rather than just for the neck. 'Minotaur' and 'Contradictions of Decay' follow similar structures to the other songs though benefit from steadily rolling riffs and a more discreet use of guitar and bass parts, winding around the basic chassis of pounding heaviness. The guitar solos are useful in this regard too, proving more technical and adventurous than the rhythm playing, sometimes even creating atmosphere in their frenzied spasms. Check out the close of 'Combustion Inferno' for an explosion of shred and a huge gulp of distortion on the last note. Despite the initial success of Krisiun's formula - and a formula it surely is - the album loses steam before it reaches its final stages, leaving the last four songs to rehash similar themes with lessening effect. Placing the cover of 'Refuse/Resist' at such a point in the album also alters the momentum of the songs, since the performance is much less intense (despite furious blasting in the solo, it never seems to fit Krisiun's style) and nothing truly venomous comes after. In this regard, the band would seem to have committed an error in making Southern Storm their longest album, the quality not being there from start to finish and the overall force diminished as a result.
The first 7 songs and 'Origin of Terror' are all pretty good super-intense blasts through death metal insanity, although some overly rhythmic parts tarnish the momentum of the more instinctive assault. By no means a bad album, Southern Storm still has enough problems to make you approach with caution.
It’s kind of a rare thing for a band to continue to improve after six or seven albums. More often than not we’ll see an act peaking somewhere between their debut, the follow-up or ‘difficult’ third album. Not so Krisiun. I could be in the minority here but this band’s early albums bypassed me somewhat, and it wasn’t until the excellent AssassiNation that I finally sat up and took notice. Given the quality of that album and Krisiun’s extensive back catalog. Let's enter Southern Storm...
From the moment of the deadly opener “Slaying Steel” kicks off proceedings it becomes apparent that Krisiun aren’t interested in reinventing the wheel, instead opting to further grind our ears with their signature sound whether we like it or not. And that’s the thing about Southern Storm, in that you won’t mistake it for anything other than Krisiun. If you don’t already appreciate the band’s particular take on brutal death metal you possibly never will. If on the other hand you dig their South American-flavored, militaristic blast then Southern Storm will feel like a refinement of all of Krisiun’s strengths, with an even greater focus on channeling their fierce technicality into strong, memorable songs.
Southern Storm has its fair share of highlights. Early on, “Sentenced Morning” tempers its furious jackhammer rhythms with a slamming breakdown, while “Minotaur” retains the intensity even as the band shifts down to medium pace. Two of the best songs are found near the end of the album. “Contradictions of Decay” features some of Krisiun’s strongest riffs to date as well an invigorating use of melody. Closing track “Whore of the Night” is surprisingly bombastic for Krisiun, and is absolutely ferocious with some great licks from guitarist Moyses (his leads are outstanding throughout the album). There’s even some icing on this cake in the form of Sepultura’s “Refuse/Resist” that fits in with the rest of Southern Storm better than I had expected.
2008 has so far proved to be a bumper year for death metal what with the likes of Dismember, Grave, Hail Of Bullets, Decrepit Birth, Dead Congregation, all releasing killer efforts. Krisiun deserve to be counted among this lot, as Southern Storm is a superior example of quality death metal songwriting. These guys are one of the most committed bands in the genre and this latest effort proves that the fire in their belly is stronger than ever. Southern Storm is an excellent album and one that will hopefully be appreciated by the death metal community at large and not just Krisiun fans.
Krisiun - Southern Storm (Century Media Records/2008)
This release is from my standpoint better than their last few efforts. I'd say it's their best since 'Conquerors Of Armageddon'. The riffs aren't as noteworthy as that release though. I think that they're more versatile now then they have been in past releases. It's not just blast beating galore there's a lot more variety now. There's also an acoustic piece entitled "Black Wind" which was well composed. It shows a different side of Krisiun than we're used to. They also cover Sepultura's "Refuse/Resist" off of 'Chaos AD' album. Awesome cover! In terms of the vocals, Alex still dishes out the same brutal low bellowing vox as usual. The leads by Moyses are still phenomenal. He's one amazing shredder that's for sure. The drums by Max are tight as ever. With the different tempos now too he's still solid on that end. The production by Andy Classen is superb. Every instrument and vocal outputs were very solid from my perspective.
For the most part, the songs aren't as repetitive as they were in the past. Like I said, with this release they show more variety to their music. This 3-piece act has been around since 1990! I think that they should get another guitarist though. They originally had 2 guitarists but I suppose that he dropped out of the band. 'Southern Storm' is over 50 minutes in length. The songs are 3-4 minutes long except for the instrumental which is less than a minute. This album at times is still somewhat repetitive but I think it's much less so than previous releases.
Krisiun's lyrical content hasn't changed any. They still sing about Satanism, anti-Christianity and Darkness (http://www.metal-archives.com/). Kind of reminds me of Deicide though I think that for Krisiun it's just a gimmick with their lyrics. My favorite tracks here are "Slaying Steel", "Combustion Inferno" and "Origin Of Terror". Overall, these guys have made some changes to their music in a good way.
If you played this album at the same time as Torture Squad's Hellbound, the world would come to an end. Don't try it. There are badass riffs here. Lots of them. They are running amok, slapping your mum, and pooping on the rug there are so many. Certainly they could've fit in even more, but why do such an absurd thing when you've already got THIS many awesome ones?
Sure...the riffs are heavy, loud, and have distortion as usual. The guitars are a downtuned a bit, but I'd guess no lower than C. All the riffs are predominately fast, blistering, and tremolo picked in the lower registers. He mixes it up well with power chords and palm muting. The riffs have a certain thrash quality at times due to an occasional choppy or start/stop feel. Excellent phrasing overall. The guitar sound is quite pleasing and definitely at the forefront of the mix. There's even a few shredding solos around. Pretty impressive scalar runs. Kinda reminds me of some stuff I've heard Petrucci do using the neck pickup to get a clearer, rounder tone where you can distinctly hear all the notes. Very precise guitar player. The solos are few in number and he does liven them up with some melodic lines and even a couple sustained, soaring bends! He definitely likes the wah pedal and he gets a killer tone with it when used. Not really like a Michael Schenker tone since he does use his foot more to sweep the sound, just not constantly. He's not all over it as to sound like some 70's porno.
Southern Storm is loud. Very loud. Not that I'm unaccustomed to clipping...I live on a diet of extreme metal from noon til night. This album is damn loud for even modern metal though. Crikey! Thankfully it's done well. I haven't put it in a WFE or anything, but I'm betting it's mastered to an average of something like -0.3 dB. For the unaware, that's about as loud as you can go without sounding like slush in a blender, up a cat's rectum. Careful with the volume controls before you hit the play button!
There are tons of blast beats on here. The bass drums are triggered and processed to sound massive. They're quite up front in the mix (but not over the guitars) and they have a slight smacky sound which I'm guessing is the beater against the drum head. It's not too overbearing but definitely there. Pretty trebley. With a fast, locked in snare that was all triggered to hell, I imagine this might have verged into typewriter territory. However, the drumming is varied enough not to sound like a machine. Not every beat is blasting either. Perhaps two thirds of them are blasts overall so it's certainly achieves a nice balance in the brutal attack on your eardrums. Also, the drumming is an impressive display of technique. He's quite fast and the fills can be pretty complex. I don't know if this was quantized at all (probably -- it's basically a form of beat correction if you didn't know). Regardless, this guy appears to have some serious skills.
These three Brazilians are brothers, by the way! Lots of musical talent in that family. I haven't heard a lot of Krisiun's other material, but Southern Storm is easily one of 2008's best and one of my favorite metal albums period. You get 51 minutes of near constant assault, pummeling riffs, and earthquake-inducing percussion. The vocals are deep and he sounds like some apeshit caveman about to club a motherfucker. They are absolutely perfect for the music. Southern Storm is so god damn loud and ass kicking that I would vote for it to be put into immediate circulation at Guantanamo Bay. Actually, this might be TOO god damn loud and ass kicking. Playing this recklessly could cause revolts and uprisings! Panic! Mob rule! It's a lethal fucking weapon of sonic war.
2008 has been graced with not one, but two brilliant death metal albums. Origin - Antithesis and Brazilian destroyers Krisiun with their latest album, Southern Storm. I'm having a hard time deciding which is the better of the two. Antithesis is technically better but Southern Storm is sonically more destructive. For me Southern Storm clinches it, it gets more play time than Antithesis and I feel like smashing everything in sight when I listen to it. This album is vicious.
I need to touch on one aspect of this album. Although there is absolutely no comparison between Southern Storm and that god awful tripe that Metallica just churned out, Death Magnetic. This album is loud. I mean, REALLY FUCKING LOUD! The difference is that it's borderline. Death Magnetic is over the edge, way over. They destroyed Death Magnetic to the point that Metallica now has an entry under Loudness War in Wikipedia, and that isn't a good thing. Krisiun on the other hand get away with it on Southern Storm and the effect is skull smashing, face ripping brutality.
Southern Storm is to death metal what Stella Artois is to lager, affectionally called "Wife Beater" in the UK. I'm positive that this album can induce violence. If I were to go on a rampage across a battle field wielding an axe.. This is what I would be playing under my helmet. Opening with Slaying Steel, a war zone is declared. With targets ahead, the dead lay scattered behind. Limbs torn from bodies and faces disfigured beyond recognition. Nobody survives.
The cover of Sepultura's Refuse/Resist from the album Chaos A.D is the only let up Southern Storm has. As far as covers go, it isn't a bad one but a better choice could have been picked from an earlier Sepultura album, Beneath the Remains maybe or Arise.
I'm not very good at describing how an album sounds musically, all I can tell you is that this is a relentless work of carnage. It sounds very human and not mechanical like some albums, there are subtle changes in rhythm throughout that you notice and appreciate. It's these subtleties that give it a human feel. Krisiun are a tight unit and this is largely due to the fact that all three band members are brothers. Vocalist Alex Camargo avoids the use of pig squeals and guttural grunts and instead viciously spits out lyrics with such wrath that you are left with the wonder of just how raw it is. The lyrics are understandable which is an added plus for the album. The riffing is pummeling, the drumming is like bullets raining down around you. There are no fillers here, although Krisiun could have left Refuse/Resist off of the album. I'm not a fan of covers and I don't feel it adds any weight to the album.
This isn't glory metal.. It's Death Fuckin' Metal and it's demented.
Also submitted to: http://www.slayingsteel.com
The site recently changed domain names. As way of homage, Slaying Steel was chosen... that and the fact that every other domain name is taken.
Brazil’s Krisiun are death metal legends. With a career that spans nearly 16 years the three brothers have made a name for themselves playing intense, no frills death metal with more blasting than a strip mine and melodies as twisted as the logic of universal healthcare proponents (ba-zing!). The group hasn’t been without their missteps however. 2006’s AssassiNation was largely regarded as an uninspired foray into monotonous blast beats and boring leads. Southern Storm, on the other hand, sees the trio at the top of their game with one of the best releases in an already watershed year for extreme metal.
From the first 10 seconds of “Slaying Steel” you get a feel for the ground covered on the album (here’s a hint; it’s littered with axes, armor and corpses). The often atonal riffs snake around pulsating drums in a sound that can be rather unsettling upon the first few casual listens, yet with repeated jam sessions it almost becomes catchy. Few parts are truly melodic, but with the unconventional, warped song structures don’t be surprised if you find it hard to forget these songs. Southern Storm also harnesses the power of surprise like few albums I’ve ever heard. Tracks like “Minotaur”, “Contradictions of Decay”, and “Combustion Inferno” have extremely creative guitar riffs that will have you scrambling to press rewind. Spiraling arpeggios, lightening fast palm mutes, and furious solos are just a few of the tricks up Krisiun’s sleeve that will not leave you disappointed.
The vocals of Alex Camargo are vicious and add to the already overwhelming force bearing down on you. His low growl is completely monotone throughout the album with no clean singing or high screams to be found, but those aspects are certainly not missed in Krisiun’s war march of a record. There are few frontman who convey the primal power that Carmargo is able to get across (Augury frontman Patrick Loisel comes to mind) and Southern Storm is worth a few spins if for no other reason than to hear the ferocity of songs such as “Whore of the Unlight”. The lyrics are pretty hit or miss, which is to be expected from groups who don’t speak English as a first language, but as is the case with most death metal, the vocals are more a means of rhythmic reinforcement than a vehicle for any profound meditations.
The drumming is outstanding with Max Kolesne delivering the performance of his career. The man could give a clinic on how to play blast beats with authority. From the sounds of “Sentenced Morning” I find it hard to believe he can perform a full concert set with just one drum kit. The violence unleashed on his skins is truly magnificent and stands as an example of how to accentuate the music with percussion. The production on Southern Storm lends itself perfectly to the bass heavy drum work. With a good pair of headphones and a dark room it’s almost possible to feel your body vibrate in time with each kick (which is fuckton of vibrations).
One of the few downsides of this record is also a boon of sorts. All the songs (with the exception of the short acoustic interlude, “Black Wind”) follow the same pattern of brutality, Camargo’s roaring, brutality, solo, and more brutality. While many un-indoctrinated listeners might find this methodology tiresome, those with a more discerning ear will appreciate the fine tuned approach Krisiun took with Southern Storm. There is something to be said for consistency, and with their 7th full length, Krisiun proves why they’re still one of the top death metal acts in the world. Every song has its own identity and each one has multiple sections that are hard to forget, whether it be the raging, feverish solo in “Sons of Pest”, the foreboding, sinister intro to “Contradictions of Decay”, or the mind-melting conclusion of “Massacre Under the Sun”.
Southern Storm is the kind of record that people will either praise endlessly or scorn excessively. With its relentless pace and dizzying array of riffs and vocal patterns, Krisiun’s latest offering will be talked about for years to come. Having jammed this record at least 3 times a day since I first heard it several weeks ago, I can safely say that I have yet to grow remotely tired of it. In a musical landscape overflowing with breakdowns, girl pants, and pig squeals it’s refreshing to hear an old school outfit release such a monstrous, memorable album. If more bands wrote records like Southern Storm the scene would be a better, brighter, and much more brutal place.
I’ve always loved Krisiun for their unmatched brutality and any time they put out a new effort it was like the first time I listened to that Black Force Domain that simply one of the most brutal death metal efforts ever in the history of this music. The years have passed since that period and Krisiun have grown up musically and mentally, through always good albums that, going on, pointed more on the technique united to the always present bulldozer heaviness.
Works Of Carnage I think was the very first album to introduce new elements in their sound and fill the song with various, less monotonous and violent stop and go to break a bit the furious, continue blast beats that was a characteristic of the early efforts. Since that album, the things started to change a bit for them and this new Southern Storm is a logical follow up to their two previous works. The new elements go very well with the old style brutal death by the band.
The new sounds concern mostly the guitars parts. There are more progressive and technical breaks by the axe man Moyses and they can be found almost everywhere here and the various stops in the songs are a quite new direction by the band. Yeah, they cannot play like Black Force Domain forever and I understand them when they decide to point on less impulsive and less fast parts to fill the songs: they are less monotonous and these parts work very well. Don’t worry anyway because they are always heavy as fuck and truly pounding.
The production is now not too clear like in the previous efforts. Let me explain, it’s perfect but conserves always that dirty touch a death metal band should have on CD, so it can be considered a way between Works Of Carnage and Apocalyptic Revelations. As always, the guitars and the drums are massive in their distortion and in the way they are played. Max is always inhuman in its neverending bass drum stops that fill even the more mid paced parts, while the parts by Moyses are a mixture of hyper blasting palm muting riffs and technical solos.
The songs are generally not too long for a death metal band. They have the right length and that’s good to let appreciate a death metal album that consists of 50 minutes of music. For someone could seem very hard but these guys are very good and some different songs like “Minotaur” and the cover “Refuse/Resist” are able to break in the right time the sonic power of the other songs to insert different, less monolithic parts. Talking about the cover, I can only say that is one of the best I’ve heard and maybe the choice of a song that represented the “new” period for Sepultura could be interpreted as the will to change a bit for Krisiun too.
“Combustion Inferno” and “Twisting Sights” are just two more examples of how Krisiun this time really pointed on progressive, dissonant riffs alternated to devastating blast beats restarts. Also the palm muting riffs for the rhythmic guitars are now full of galloping parts and less tremolo pickings that sounded so evil in the past. Overall, it’s a very good return for the Brazilian masters of brutal death. Here it depends mostly on how you accepted some changes about the sounds…the die-hard fans could find this a bit weird but I think that with this mix of “new” and “old”, Krisiun tried to satisfy anyone and it worked with me.
The thoroughly original playing of brothers Alex, Max and Moyses of Brazilian extermination squad Krisiun, have always resulted in ruthless music more tightly bound than their blood ties. The bellicose trio sat on their hills of gold with “Assassination,” a punishing and unforgettable slab of death sophistication. However, their addiction to producing some of the best death metal out there needed to be satisfied yet again. You’ll get an overdose of bombastic, smooth as steel annihilation with their seventh full-length, “Southern Storm” the cataclysm of proof that Krisiun stand tall at the top of extreme metal.
There are no faint, instrumental intros here as “Southern Storm” begins with the full onslaught of a ripping hurricane. Instigating a world of violence “Slaying Steel” is unquestionably built upon the foundations of Krisiun’s trademark demolition death metal. This immense technical force combined with sheer truculence, continues for the entire duration of the album and keeps things interesting. “Twisting Sights” curls and unfurls like the tips of flames with unrelenting blast beats and a killer guitar solo. With a thundering entrance, welcome “Minotaur,” an earthquake bringing forth a feeling of belligerence. Dirge marching drums and spiraling riffs conjure up that great beast of lore. The cloaking atmosphere of “Massacre under the Sun” is dismal with all of the power of a lightning strike. Throw in a couple of effects and a melting solo near the end and this song is another standout.
The striking cover of fellow Brazilians Sepultura’s grand “Refuse/Resist” is unbelievable. Krisiun play the song as naturally as ones they’ve written and that’s precisely how it sounds, natural. Such pounding drive, whether you love the thrash legends or not, if you love Krisiun, this song is it. The added brutality of an already strong classic makes this track absolutely addicting and a great tribute to Sepultura, as well as a wonderful piece of Krisiun’s history.
“Sons of Pest” is a dark song as the slight fuzz off of the guitars creates a subtle background sound of an insect swarm, making it quite dismal. “Black Wind” is a short acoustic part, but is majestic still and should not be seen as an obstacle to the carnage of the following track, “Whore of the Unlight.” Getting back to the blasphemous tags of “Assassination,” this album, of course, ends with the climax of the storm. Loathing in the instruments and hatred in the lyrics, a very distinct statement of anger is made here. Straight to it, “Whore of the Unlight” does not allow Krisiun’s latest torment to end miserably.
“Southern Storm” sees Krisiun stretch their borders to even higher horizons, building upon the incredible blasts and guitar squeals of past works. Eighteen years of hellfire and they increase the temperature with every release. Either buy two copies of this disc or put this on your mp3 holder of choice, because it will be worn out as these thirteen crushing tracks will keep your attention to the very end. “Southern Storm” is an overdose of skill and ingenuity, so prepare your ears for the oncoming storm that is Krisiun!
Holy Death Metal Batman. Krisiun spent a long time in the doldrums after the brilliant Conquerors Of Armageddon, but with the strong comeback of AssassiNation they signaled their return to form with head-on, brutal Death Metal. This is their seventh or eighth album — depending on whether you count Bloodshed as an album — and it is without a doubt their best work to date.
Southern Storm is in no wise a change of style for this band, but it is just the heaviest, most relentless and crushing album they have ever recorded. Furious, steel-fisted riffs come pummeling out one after another, bristling with hooks, and make every songs a killer. Even the cover of a lame Sepultura song cannot cramp Krisiun's style this time out, and honestly, "Refuse/Resist" is probably the last decent tune Sepultura recorded. (Seriously though, could they not have covered "Primitive Future" instead?)
Inventive and energetic songwriting makes this album a real winner, with every song blistering with catchy riffs and head-smashing violence. I have always liked Krisiun, but they have never sounded as feral as they do on this disc, and the urgent vocals and sometimes brilliant leads are just icing on the cake. Crank this fucker up and let Krisiun beat you to a bloody pulp.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com