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Gothic Vox > Supplicamentum > Reviews
Gothic Vox - Supplicamentum

When innovation fails - 50%

DDTTranslator, August 31st, 2021
Written based on this version: 1991, 12" vinyl, Miragem

Early 1990s, southeastern Brazil: a few concerts would show this band with this new sound: mixing Middle Eastern-ish style tunes and vocals to some parts of some of their songs, often in a different key than the instruments, in what could be loosely compared to thrash metal bands from the time. The band is from São Paulo, but their only record was distributed (in vinyl only) by Cogumelo Records (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais). The guitars and drums do sound quite a bit like other Cogumelo bands from the late 1980s and early 1990s, such as early Witchhammer and, at times, Attomica, with a minor difference: dissonant chords. They were still quite harmonious and fitting for Brazilian thrash metal from the early 1990s, if it weren’t for the vocals. The singer used a half melodic screaming voice one step behind what could have been grunt vocals – this was also found, for example, in The Mist’s early material. Vladimir Korg may have been a direct influence on Gothic Vox’s singer, but Korg would sing (and even shriek) in key, while this singer would often sing in what could be intentional dissonance or just plainly off-key.

The artwork was also a little different for the time, with a 16” by 12” insert, folding part of it (4”) in, so as to keep it inside the album sleeve, printed in black and white, with lyrics and the drawing of a body immobilized in torn wraps, in a similar style as the front cover. Scenes from concerts of the time are now available on YouTube, where we can see the band members wearing similar wraps and a female dancer looking like a mummy unraveling as she dances. Yet, the dance itself is a bit too simple and those visuals only reinforced their poorly innovative low-budget art style.

The music does grow in you. I still play my old record from time to time. Drawing a direct comparison with other bands or slipping them into a specific genre or style would be ultimately unfitting. This lack of identity may be why, not knowing what to make of this quasi-melodic dissonant thrash metal band with occasional Middle-Eastern influences, audiences were rather unimpressed. It is still interesting to see a different innovative step in metal music. This is a curious album, even if rather cheaply extravagant.