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Over the years Brazilian death metal has come to be known either for its brutality and technicality with bands like Krisiun or their savage and bestial side, with bands like Sepultura and more recently, bands like Hellscourge and Poisonous. Strangely then, Warclouds falls into neither of these categories with their debut full length album A Disturbing Presence.
Crushing riffs greet the listener right from the start with Dystopia, as the band buries the listener under a concrete wall of sound, before breaking into their rather melodic brand of death metal, with the melodic, trem-picked riffs of band mastermind Bruno coming in rather unexpectedly after some brutal moments, throwing the listener slightly off-guard. The progressive elements that are included on A Disturbing Presence also rear their head rather early into the album, with Warclouds constantly alternating between different tempos, and Bruno easily proving his ability as a musician in transiting between different tempos with much ease and with very little awkwardness in these transitions. His low guttural growls also provide a pretty sinister mood to the overall atmosphere, giving a nice, dangerous feel to the songs.
The instruments are all handled extremely well, and Bruno’s ability on the guitars are constantly proven on the record with the shred fests and neo-classical influenced leads that are present. That said though, the programmed drums do end up sounding slightly synthetic and artificial at times, and the bass drums do get somewhat overpowering as well as the album progressed, and like most records with programmed drums, this is one of the main drawbacks of the album. Furthermore, the songwriting on A Disturbing Presence is rather weak, with songs that contain either too few memorable moments or end up getting too lengthy and repetitive, losing the initial impact that they might have had, causing the listener’s mind to start wandering. The transitions between brutality and melody at times can be rather sudden as well, like on I Stare to See, and ends up sounding like just a couple of random ideas being thrown together.
To be honest, there is nothing overly offensive on A Disturbing Presence, and the way Bruno handles the instruments and his vocals are rather impressive. The brutal moments can really tear shit up with no mercy, and the melodic moments catchy as hell, and A Disturbing Presence would certainly benefit if Warclouds had toned down on the sudden transitions and arranged the songs in a more coherent manner.