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Dystopia Will Rise! - 89%

CHAIRTHROWER, October 8th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Independent

Fervently supplying a grooved out and chunky, somewhat less angular or raw accompaniment piece to Swedish trad metal trailblazer Steelwing is Muriaé, Minas Gerais, Brazil's newly arrived Blazing Fire, a full-throttling quartet whose full-length debut, Sounds of the Wasteland, grips from the get-go thanks to a richly nasal and poetically lilting, versatile front man/rhythm guitarist backed by a stout, meaty, mid-to-fast-tempo battery as well as a sparse albeit poignantly furrowing lead ax man over ten relatively extensive tracks - averaging five minutes - which, from one cut to the next, make me want to pump my fist and shout "Sim boy!".

Duly, I instantly got into this vocally anglophone stunner once I heard the opening title track's rampant crunch beguiled by Sebastian Amaral's idiosyncratic and mildly Dio/Ian Gillan-like pseudo-rap, which pleasantly segues into a pinball reminiscent (full) tilt liable to cause one to throw their head back in a most glorious, devil-may-care manner, and thus, at the drop of a...hairpin, as I'm running out of ideas for hats, now...

In any event, I resolutely dig, also, how vocalist/lead burner/Hollow Point-er Arthur Felisburto suavely slinks in at precisely 03:00 into this genial South American affair with a coiled n' oiled, clean flamenco-style jazzy lead before fully taking flight like a clam dropping Cormoran with a shell to pick (hardy, har, har!).

The centrifugally whizzing 'Roadkill" comes afterwards, and includes a sharply palm muted overture on behalf of Amaral, just in time for buddy to let another sizzling solo drone by before an atypically rampant return to plump, shaggy form. I could go on forever like this for each and every face-kicker of a track, which brings me to my sole issue with the band and album, although it's verily a petty and/or rather minor one. On first listen, one might consider Sounds of the Wasteland a tad overdone i.e. lengthy, with a fair number of cuts adhering to a vague sameness, yet, rest assured, repeated perusals yield incrementally varying touches singular to each.

To give credit where it's due, however, semi-ballad "Back In Time" assuages more sensible, er, sensibilities thanks to a delta-blues patterned inception and mellifluous clean guitar progression soon followed by our tonal chameleon's wistful croons, until a light key change and wispy strum or two give way to a ratcheted drum beat/Extreme invoking power surge and bass-y doubling over as said harmonic vesture comes back for an encore. Flowing betwixt valleys and peaks, it's literally a highlight, alongside a couple other worthies held in high esteem by this Latin digging yegg. Oh, lest I forget, this gem's main lead break fluidly caroms above funky, slapdash strums worthy of any genre affected minstrel.

Badlands member Leandro Oliveira's oh-so noodling and prevalent bass line rips into "Stronger Than Death", but aside from its upbeat leads, this last constitutes one of the weaker numbers, if only due to overly dramatic chanting which, thankfully, doesn't detract too much from the album's overall appeal. It's kind of a happy-go-lucky, feel-good track I'd bypass readily enough in order to fully revel in the succeeding haymaking wayfarer, "Rage Of Ace". Cathartically pouncing notes pave the road to a Megadeth evoking crunch fest buoyed by ex-D.A.M.-ite Kaio César's tribally militant drum swats whilst Amaral does a fine job transporting this one to wonky sing-along territory which includes further dazzling fretboard acrobatics on behalf of Felisburto.

A bit of welcome, triplet based metal-core emulation/shuffling and sky-bound, gang-cawed operatics drag "All Lies That Still Remain" to the frontline (César's late blast beats anoint a nice touch) while closer - and shortest piece at just under four minutes - "Fight For Your Dreams" perfunctorily wraps things up with a bow, or, if you like, cross-hatched guerrilla bandolier. The only instance where the vocals take a distinctively sharp turn, in a most craggy and shouty fashion, is on the more aggressive, floating wanderer which is "Blind Leading The Blind" (careful, there, as Carcass casts its evil eye...), which heralds the next-to-last number with a cool, Egyptian/Phrygian wind-down (solo).

Admittedly, I first thought Blazing Fire was a Germanic outfit, owing to the vocalist's Blizzen-like, gregarious exuberance and "stretched-taffy" evoking incantations, which, hither and yon, adhere to a mercurial formula dominated by snazzily morphing inflections reminiscent of above-par alt-rock equivocations working in wonderful tandem with the oft switching rhythmic variations, buoyed as they are by a stoutly clouting and rocksteady battery. Actually, the production is quite sweet, as the bass guitar grandly snuggles its way among said foundation's wavy, oft times, undulating syncopation. So, if you're unfamiliar with Blazing Fire and Sounds of the Wasteland, dismiss its pedantic moniker and make a wasp-line for it, asap.