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Etherial Grief > Handful of Grief > Reviews > bayern
Etherial Grief - Handful of Grief

Don’t Cry a Handful of Tears for Us, Portugal! - 83%

bayern, March 20th, 2019

These underground gems keep finding their way to me, and I can’t help but add one more name to the small, but talented pool (Afterdeath, Thormenthor, Shrine) of Portuguese outfits from the early/mid-90’s, the least productive of the lot, with this demo here their only legacy to the metal fandom. And the latter should start grieving immediately cause these lads were definitely going somewhere with their interesting, original approach.

Like their Italian colleagues Sadist the guys use the good old thrash as a base to weave their contrived, frequently atmospheric vistas which have a strong technical/progressive colouring plus a pinch of death metal. From their mentioned compatriots Shrine are also a close soundalike although this batch here are more aggressive and more often rely on great authoritative virtuoso bassisms ala Tony Choy (Atheist, Cynic, Pestilence) although nothing really jazzy or fusion-esque occurs throughout these intriguing 18-min.

The brilliant bass pirouettes will grab your attention immediately at the start of “Ballot by Bullet”, a very eventful progressiver with dynamic strokes taking turns with more entangled, spiral-like rifforamas this “duel” supervised by not really pleasant shouty, hardcore-ish vocals. The delivery is strictly old school favouring both the headbangers and the serious thinkers, the choppy rhythms of the title-track and again the restless bass reminding of the early Atheist exploits with a few delectable melodies also circling around, the lead guitarist not participating much, adding a couple of unobtrusive screamy licks whenever he has the chance. There’s nothing negative about “Negative Approach” which is the most linear number the guys shredding in mid to up-pace without too many embellishments, leaving those for “Overreacting” which manages to accumulate several contrived configurations despite its short duration, including a few intense moshing moments with death metal coming to play more prominently beside an interesting contrasting short acoustic/flamenco etude.

A pretty entertaining recording if we exclude the noisy unrehearsed vocals again, the band putting quite a bit of thought behind the proceedings without overdoing it, adding more to the obscure grandiloquence of the progressive/technical thrash/death metal roster from the early/mid-90’s; a very short-lived stint that folded shortly after the demo was released as there was very little interest in visionary old school tributes at that time. Some of the musicians resurfaced a few years later, though, with the progressive metal/rock formation Sundance, and managed to put themselves on the official release map (“Bleed the Sun”, 1998). Needless to add, there were no vestiges of any thrash/death metal, be it complex or direct, on that opus. No tears, no bleeding; quiet was the aftermath regardless of how many were the grievous who couldn’t come to terms with the untimely disappearance of one of the finest underground heroes from Fernando Magellan’s homeland.