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It's a'ight - 70%

BastardHead, April 26th, 2019

To be completely honest with you, I have a nasty habit of treating Latin America as something of a meme when it comes to heavy metal. I recognize the unfairness considering Brazil is an undisputed metal hotspot, with Sepultura and Sarcofago helping lay the groundwork for extreme metal in general (not to mention Vulcano and Krisiun), and of course we can't forget their strong power metal scene with Angra and Hibria. Mexico gave the world The Chasm, and even the hellhole of Colombia is technically responsible for Inquisition (even though the vast majority of their music was released after Dagon moved to the US), et cetera et cetera. I dunno, I think the inherent Engrish goofiness of Sarcofago rubbed off on a lot of bands in the region and the whole place became known for ALKOHOLIC HELLTHRASH 666!!!! type nonsense. At least that's what happened in my own mind.

So it was with much trepidation that I decided to give Chilean thrashers, Cabrio, a listen. My prejudices are pretty well ingrained at this point, so I can say with confidence that Devotion and Hate has done a lot to dispel the stereotypes in my mind. Don't get me wrong, this is hellish thrash metal to the bone, but it puts forth a distinctly South American attitude while thankfully completely eschewing that idiotic SMOKE BEER!!! aesthetic I've always hated. Cabrio plays a style that's very heavily rooted in the more American style of thrash that Exodus helped make popular with a hefty dose of the very metal-leaning hardcore of Hatebreed, but there's a raw edge to it that keeps it just rough and nasty enough to stand out. I think it's the vocals that make the music impossible to fully divorce from their geographic origins. Andres has a rather thick accent to his ferocious (yet clear) hardcore bark that stands out to my cornbread ass, so every shout of TWAHNNY THAHSSIN TAHNS immediately transports me to the southern hemisphere.

But taking all of that away, the music itself is vicious and entertaining. Devotion and Hate is pounding thrash metal that never truly breaks out into a completely frantic pace, but there's a very heavy skippiness to the riffs that ensures the mighty weight of the band never gives way to dull grooves or fast-for-the-sake-of-it thrash. The band's only real downfall is that the songwriting itself tends to rest on its laurels and doesn't always grab your attention. There are great tracks here, like the monstrously heavy "Twenty Thousand Tons", the venom-spewing ferocity of "Seed of Deception", or the tempo-shifting maelstrom of "Dios Sin Fe", but most of the rest of the album just kinda unremarkably fades into the white noise. What's here is indeed good, but it doesn't have a whole lot of lasting impact. It's a flaw that's both major and minor, because when it is on, it's vicious and biting the whole way through. Unfortunately, at some point you're gonna have to turn it off and listen to something else, and when that happens it might be tough to remember to revisit it.

Originally written for Lair of the Bastard