Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

the vocals suck - 68%

RapeTheDead, May 28th, 2015

Krisiun is a band who somehow got a big record deal among the hordes of other bands who seem to have the exact same approach. Following the long Brazilian tradition of skull-pounding brutality, Krisiun's goal is to play really thick tremolo riffs with blastbeats with the occasional slower part or solo serving to remind you they actually do have the capability to play something other than thick tremolo riffs and blastbeats--they just choose not to do so because there's really nothing better in life than thick tremolo riffs and blastbeats. You probably know that already, though, right? I mean, in this day and age you can just pull up a Krisiun song on youtube and get the general idea of what these guys sound like. Doesn't even really matter which album it is, they all have Morbid Angel-style riffs with tense grooves coupled with that South American straightforward, in-your-face songwriting approach and very rarely diverge from that formula. Though there's subtle variation from album to album (something that detractors of Krisiun as well as bands like Cannibal Corpse, Vader, Motorhead and whatnot often fail to get their head around), it's all punishing death metal written with the minimalism and blastbeat frequency usually seen in black metal. Not really a difficult sound to grasp or anything. What's the point in reviewing a Krisiun album then? Well, that previously mentioned subtle variation between albums actually makes for for some pretty large differences that a lot of people may gloss over. Sure, it all tries to be fast, heavy, loud and evil, but there are a lot of different ways to achieve those goals and some work better than others. The little tweaks that Krisiun have made to refine their sound over the course of almost a couple of decades now are definitely noticeable, and sometimes it seems like opinions regarding Krisiun either miss the little flaws that hold the album back or gloss over the idiosyncrasies that make each album cool and engaging.

This seems to be particularly true for Black Force Domain, which seems to be held in pretty high regard no matter where you look amongst extreme metal fans. It gets acclaim for being particularly "evil" and "satanic" when held up against their other releases, which is I guess sort of understandable. It's their debut album, so the production doesn't have quite as much of a "massive boot stomping on your face repeatedly" feel as later albums would. There's much more black metal in their sound here than on any other release, too. I might just be suckered into thinking that because of the shittier production and the pentagram on the cover, because there's always a lingering black metal influence in Krisiun's music (any time you use a lot of thick tremolo riffs and blasting it's bound to be the case), but nonetheless a Demoncy-esque sense of primitive, heavy black metal emerges on this album fairly frequently. All things considered, this does lend itself to a more chaotic and menacing atmosphere even behind the initial sloppiness. Out of all Krisiun's albums, this is the most distinct, the most primitive, and the most black metal, at least on the string/percussion front. Why isn't this my favorite of their albums, then?

Unless you didn't read the title or you're just really fucking stupid, it's the vocals. This album isn't that great specifically because of, and entirely due to the vocals. I know metalheads' standards for vocals aren't exactly all that high to begin with, but the fact that the drunken rambling present on this album has gotten a completely free pass and has even been praised for its "evil" atmosphere never ceases to make me raise an eyebrow. It's not as though I have a huge problem with Krisiun's vocals in general, either. Most of the kinks had been patched up by the next album and were pretty much completely absent by the time Conquerors of Armageddon rolled around. Why is it such an issue here? Sure, on Black Force Domain they often seem like an afterthought tacked on to serve as an obligatory diversion from the incessant blasting, but vocals have never been the main focus in death metal, much less in Krisiun. Sure, the timing in the verbal punctuation is really sloppy and all over the place, but the rest of the album isn't recorded to clinical perfection and maybe it just suits the twisted chaos they're attempting to convey. Sure, Alex Camargo sort of has a mid-range Sepulturian grunty growl that doesn't seem to have nearly as much anger or insanity in it as the rest of the music does, but I mean the guy's not inhuman. He shouldn't just be able to bellow a viking-esque roar in his normal speaking voice, especially not while he's delivering very dense, rhythmically complex vocal lines while simultaneously playing the bass. Sure, his voice sounds much more at home in the later, more death metal-oriented albums than it does on a release like this that blurs the line between death and black metal, but...fuck, I can't come up with any more justifications for this crap. His tone isn't that powerful, as the thin production makes it really strained and tinny at times. When he does vocal lines that have a lot of words in them he completely goes off-time (and the drummer flubs a blast every now and then, so it sounds like even more of a mess). It honestly sounds like he was just really drunk when he entered the studio and loudly shouted all of his lines into the mic without paying any attention to what was going on in the music playing behind him. Maybe for a lot of people that makes for a deranged, possessed vocal performance, but I personally think you can only achieve a vile atmosphere with unusual vocal patterns if you are on fucking point rhythmically. It sounds a lot more fucked up if you're spouting mangled, incoherent lines that somehow move in sync with the music than it does when vocals sound completely nonsensical. There is an order that maintains chaos, and chaos without order is inevitably just stupid random bullshit.

Were it not for the slobbering growls smeared all over the album (which are also, unfortunately, pretty high in the mix), this would probably be my favorite Krisiun album. It's got some really cool riffs and they throw enough into the melting pot so that the sound doesn't get stale by the end of the album, a flaw that many other Krisiun releases have. Unfortunately, with the vocals the way they are, I just can't bring myself to listen to Black Force Domain very often. What many have let slide on the basis of this being a raw, amateurish debut, I actively condemn because these drunk-ass bar threats that make up the vocals hold what could have been a real classic album back from reaching its full potential.