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Somebody tune this saxophone! - 30%

Lane, November 4th, 2015

Mexican Acrania's debut EP 'In Peaceful Chaos' was a nice piece of semi-melodic metal mixed with several musical influences from their home country's musical spectrum, and it was performed with enthusiasm and fierceness. The next step for the band was their first full length album, titled 'Unbreakable Fury', which was recorded about 2 years after the EP, and released in late 2010.

The first thing that struck me was, that this sounded much worse than the band's debut release. Both releases were recorded at the same studio. This sounds muffled, so there is not enough of clarity, and therefore this ends up sounding like a demo recorded in haste. The second thing that irritated me was the vocals, which now are like a mixture of shouting, growling and emo whining, plus they are mixed much louder than totally lame and flat guitars. The vocals simply drown the riffs. As the music includes rhythmic Latin elements, drumming should be potent, right? Yes indeed, but it is not, because at times it sounds like its out of timing. Maybe this has something to do with the recording order, but anyway it is observed, there should not be a shortcoming like it. Also, the drummer doesn't seem to handle straighter tempos well enough, and his faster and fuller rhythms just fall into pieces.

Acrania are a true crossover band. However, the mixture of metal music and other kind of musical styles both work out and don't. Sometimes, some alien to metal element do not simply fit in at all, and end up feeling forced. By the way, during these non-metal parts, the sound is far clearer. Militaristic opening of 'Let It Flow' progresses into uninteresting technical math bits taking turns with Gothenburg-ish riffage. As the song goes on, listeners are surprised with soul/jazz parts with female voice. It's just out of place. 'Despair', introduced on the EP, again mixes metal and crap math stuff, but real wild card comes in form of Latin dance music and saxophones. 'Shattered Souls' is a mixture of more savage parts and progressive elements. Mexican night club music and traditional guitar music clash with metal on 'A Regreat', with disastrous outcome. 'Eusapia' sounds like late 1990s Sentenced in my Finnish ears, at least during its beginning. But, now without any kind of surprise, the Mexican music elements are again utilized... Their novelty wears of quickly. The rest of the songs follow metal/Mexican music formula to the last. The biggest problem with the songwriting is that the songs aren't really working as compositions, but only rarely. The band have also managed to pen some annoying riffs and melodies throughout the album.

'Unbreakable Fury' is plagued by bad production job (muffled guitars and the dyssynchrony effect) and annoying new vocal style, which alone ruin a lot. The band cannot be accused for not being brave and trying out something new. There's always need for progression in metal music circles. Acrania are usually falling on their faces by doing it, because the songs do not work, the metal and non-metal elements just do not fit together but every now and then. Shit, I really wanted this to work out, but some faults make it unbearable. Next time, guys, pay attention to compositions!

(Originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2011)