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A Pale Shadow of Latter Day Corrupted. - 70%

Perplexed_Sjel, September 6th, 2009

Sludge has few interesting acts that make a lasting impression from the first moment you hear them. Corrupted are one of these few. When I first discovered this enigmatic Japanese band through their most recent full-length, ‘El Mundo Frio’, I was instantly captivated by the fairytale material that jolted from soft, luscious melodies produced by a clean guitar, to the epitome of darkness as the distortion rushed in like a destructive gate crasher at a rather formal gathering. I was even further plunged into astonishment when I decided to check out the rest of their discography and noticed that, unlike most sludge bands, Corrupted are intent on deviating from their own standards, let alone the rest of the traditions of sludge. Though this is a hybrid band, incorporating crushing doom into their lucid soundscapes, Corrupted bring together a fresh sound through old ideas. The concept of a doom/sludge hybrid is not new. I don’t imagine that Corrupted, despite their age, pioneered it, but they certainly did influence many, many bands from inside and outside of Asia. Their music, despite ascertaining to some Japanese traditions as on the multi-cultural ‘Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesino’, has a global appeal because of the fresh twists implied on the old methods.

Corrupted do consist of long, winding doom laden atmospherics that are built for the purpose of destroying everything within its path, and Corrupted do impose a thick aggressive sludge lining along the base of their material like it is cement, holding the pieces of this intricate cog together, but Corrupted also incorporate sections of instrumentation that wouldn’t normally be associated with a hybrid of this nature. Their lyrical genius, for instance, is something most sludge bands fail at. Whilst there are a few notable acts of interest, like Fall of Efrafa for example, the majority of sludge bands don’t portray their lyrics in an array of different languages, each of which draws in a new face from a different cultural background. The majority of Corrupted’s lyrics are in Spanish, but they also operate within English and Japanese semantic fields which opens up the limitations imposed on bands who sing in one language. In most walks of life, it is seen as an added bonus if one can speak multiple languages and that feeling should be no different in regards to music. Of course, this well documented scope isn’t the most intriguing aspect of Corrupted, nor will it ever be, but it is worth mentioning as there are numerous people who see the lyrical content as a pivotal aspect of the music.

After all, the instrumentation is meant to be describing the lyrics without directly using them. Although ‘El Mundo Frio’ is a superb addition to the sludge dimension, it doesn’t prepare the listener for the previous efforts as they all differ from one another. Whilst ‘El Mundo Frio’ takes it upon itself to deceive by providing soft and harsh passages on repeat with spoken vocals, acoustics and introspective guitar effects imposed on the atmospherics for the soft parts and guttural growls, distorted guitars and heavy percussion for the harsh parts, each of the remaining full-lengths do not wish to impose upon this original take by ‘El Mundo Frio’ and deviate from it. ‘Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesino’, for example, is split into three shorter songs, each varying from the other as it places sullen acoustics and clean vocals alongside a wrenching doom epic in ‘Rato Triste’. In regards to ‘Paso Inferior’, these ideas are neglected once again. This record indicates to me that Corrupted were not satisfied with a discography that sounded similar from beginning to end as it is a transformed entity from the latter day records which contain far more experimentation in all areas. This is a strict doom inspired sludge record for the most part, though it does include subtle drone soundscapes.

Though it may begin ominously in a slow daunting fashion, the intensity is taken up a notch as all elements of this dissonant world become heightened and amplified. The slow churning distortion of the heavy handed guitars becomes a vocal point of the soundscapes, tearing our insides out, piece-by-piece, like some sort of deranged medieval masochist employed by the government to keep control of the population. The hands of wrath strike down in the form of overwhelming distortion. There is a feeling that this record may take some influence, however small, from the drone genre, or at least a hybrid genre of drone and doom place fittingly alongside each other in a scary, monumental sort of way. Like many of the drone/doom classics, this record takes an age to get into, but when it does finally suck you in to its whirlwind of distortion, the affects of such an eerie atmospherical piece are bound to stay with you forever. It is in the presence of the second guitar, with its numerous effects, that the swirling motion is created and forcefully pulls us in. When people talk about records with a nightmarish atmosphere, this should surely be in the back of their minds.

The repetitious guitars, which swirl into oblivion as distorted rays of darkness, extinguishing the light from our lives, the hope from our hearts, remind me of the universal nightmares we have as children where we’re running away to escape some evil force and though we try ever so hard to move faster, we’re gradually slowing down and being consumed by the severity of the situation. Like all crescendos and all dreams, everything comes to an end eventually and though this never reaches the pulsating rate of mid-pace, it does burst into flames as the distortion sees us out with a slap across the face. This record does contain some creativity, but much of it is lost beneath the distortion and the consequences of playing such a minimal style across such a long period of time. The vocals are better when they’re clean, in terms of Corrupted’s own portrayal. They consist of more varied emotions and whilst this record is always angry, and the vocals combine well with this, the lack of true insight is a downfall. Having heard the variation present on the last two full-lengths, ‘Paso Inferior’ is ironically that in comparison - inferior.

Reissued in 2008, doesn't sound dated or tired - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, August 28th, 2008

Now there are bands you wish would change their modus operandi when it passes their use-by date, especially when the musicians involved realise they should have done this ten years after their fans do; and then there are bands whose way of doing things is just fine and should stay the same because everyone knows the musicians believe in their cause which is a good cause, and moreover they put so much feeling and passion into their music and cause that the result never seems stale but is always fresh even though the style of music may never change much over the band's life. Corrupted fall into this second category: maybe it's because for a band that has lasted as long as they have, Corrupted have not released all that many studio recordings and while compared to other doom metal bands the music is limited in style - it's usually slow, ponderous, perhaps too long for most listeners and weighed down with crusty, gravity-laden riffs and a gravelly vocal delivery - this particular reissue doesn't sound at all dated or tired.

Heavy foot-dragging riffs loaded with the troubles of the world (the subject matter has varied little in the 12 years Corrupted have been together - in 1996 as now, vocalist Hevi was brooding on the ills of modern society) accompanied by squalling noisy guitar and minimal no-nonsense percussion make up the huge bulk of this one-track album. The rhythm section provides the only semblance to recognisable music - the guitar which is often quite high-pitched screams on and on as though skidding helplessly along a road before it's about to crash into a concrete barrier. Hevi grinds out the Spanish language lyrics with minimal emotion and not necessarily in time to the music; his vocal style is mostly a spoken one with a few growls.

If you're not familiar with Corrupted's music, this is an ideal recording to start getting acquainted with the band's approach and insistence on doing things their way: "Paso Inferior" is a long track but not as long as some of the band's other albums like "Llenandose de Gusanos", probably the best known release but as a double set it's very long. The action on "Paso Inferior" is constant and steady apart from the very beginning and the very end where there is just howling, squealing guitar and while the music is heavy and gritty, it's not overwhelmning or crushing. The tone is serious and world-weary enough without coming across as earnest or mawkish thanks to the straightforward and minimal approach. Folks may wonder why Corrupted choose to sing their lyrics in Spanish as it's not their native language but the band's decision to sing that way is not pretentious and the language does go with Hevi's brooding, almost meditative vocal style.

Corrupted - Paso Inferior - 95%

Infection, July 13th, 2007

S L U D G E.

This is fucking heavy stuff here. If you know this band then you know what I mean. Super heavy, slow (and I mean fucking slow) guitars, and awesome low grunt vocals. It starts off in a strange fashion with feedback fading in, followed by a few weird echoey hits on a snare, then that stops, and the REAL intro starts up. A slow hypnotic riff rises up slowly, with feedback looming quietly in the background, then here come the vocals. This guy has one of the best growls I've heard in my life. It is angry as hell, and spews with a seemingly endless snarling of absolute anger that achieves an almost frightening level of total hate. The song continues on it's slow progression, the riff adjusting itself periodically, like a paraplegic snake making its way across a field of broken bottles, the drums follow suit, beating out their snail-paced rhythm. It is quite an accomplishment to have a song like this that isn't boring, but these guys are successful in keeping it interesting. Just when it might start to be tiring, something new happens to spice it up again. It's the hypnotic nature of this song that really makes it so great, it sends you into a trance, where you can't escape the wall of total aggravation. While a good bit (but not all) of Sludge gets mired in slow Rock 'n Roll-ish crap with groovy riffs, these guys just fucking pummel you with sluggish riffs and growls that offer no continuous pattern for you to hang on to. No shelter from the storm. Your disdain for humanity can no longer hide itself, for there is something that knows it as you do, and it's name is Corrupted. There's no letting up from brutalizing you for the entire length of this single-song, 40+ minute CD. This is to be played at full volume, the best way to capture its power is to play it so loud that the walls are shaking. The louder the better. Recommended to fans of Grief and similar bands. Great album.