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Latin flavor all over my death metal - 90%

Nochielo, September 29th, 2011

Alright, maybe it’s time we let The Chasm take five. These guys can steer the ship around for a while without any problems. Seriously, Acrania is talented enough to spearhead Mexican death metal if something should befall the legends in The Chasm. In fact, these guys are doing their thing better than a lot of bands hailing from countries more, “likely” to having metal bands. Should you think that comparing an unknown band to a well established act and even say that these guys could easily bitch-slap some of the finest emerging death metal acts is uttering major words, please grant me the benefit of doubt and read on.

Acrania plays a very fast, in-your-face style of technical melodeath with plenty of thrash metal thrown in. Their melodeath could easily be likened to bands like Quo Vadis (especially their acclaimed Day into Night album), Martyr and/or maybe a blend of the speed and complexity of Atheist-Piece of Time with the cool vibe from Elements though not as flashy as the above. There are enough complex riffs, break-neck fast and varied drums, inventive tempo changes, among other surprises to keep the listener interested. Adding to the mayhem, there’s abundant straight forward thrash metal influences that the albums sports with flair. These thrash metal influences integrate a genuine old school feel to the music, separating them from the hordes of boring, young retro thrash bands that fail to capture the ferocity of the genre’s forefathers. To maximize the thrashy feel, the production has this characteristic murky and slightly muffled sound that the genre perfected in late 80s-mid 90s. Another way Acrania sets themselves apart from other melodeath bands is the very careful incorporation of Latin music arrangements, with a focus on their native Mexican rhythms. These arrangements vary from very subtle influences to complete genre shifts. For example, the last two songs of this EP (“The Final Shot” and “Dispair”) have extended sections of full-blown Latin jazz filled to the brim in riveting layers of a sizeable amount of ethnic instruments. Hell, “The Final Shot” has a rather long saxophone solo (a minute or so) and “Dispair” has an excellent “clean” part that takes roughly two minutes and some fantastic (and most easily identifiable) Latin percussion that really contributes to the overall feel of the song and the album as a whole. These elements clearly leave their mark on the songs, making them sound innovative and revitalizing.

Individual performances are phenomenal, lots of genuinely great riffs played by a very talented couple of axe-men. Many of us could name dozens of guitarists that are technically better, but maybe a handful of these have better riffs, and that’s what counts. Bass is (as usual) hard to hear, but the times it is at a listenable volume, the guy lays a few cool bass lines, that do just enough to avoid sucking and kicking some ass along the way. However, the standout has to be the drummer. This guy plays surprisingly faster than most bands in this genre, making the already swift songs sound even faster and without a blast beat in sight. Drumming is surprisingly diverse in this EP, considering the many transitions herein included. Vocals are strong, very commanding and exhibiting a great control, sounding like it's a natural ferocity being uttered by the singer. Overcomplicated tech-death this band is not. However a damn cool and balanced outfit with a focus on sweet riffs and jaw-dropping drumming, that I could agree with. This is hands down one of the finest EPs I’ve heard. Really looking forward for the follow up due November this year.