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Krisiun have regained their throne - 95%

ian_w, September 3rd, 2008

Brazil’s Krisiun are death metal legends. With a career that spans nearly 16 years the three brothers have made a name for themselves playing intense, no frills death metal with more blasting than a strip mine and melodies as twisted as the logic of universal healthcare proponents (ba-zing!). The group hasn’t been without their missteps however. 2006’s AssassiNation was largely regarded as an uninspired foray into monotonous blast beats and boring leads. Southern Storm, on the other hand, sees the trio at the top of their game with one of the best releases in an already watershed year for extreme metal.

From the first 10 seconds of “Slaying Steel” you get a feel for the ground covered on the album (here’s a hint; it’s littered with axes, armor and corpses). The often atonal riffs snake around pulsating drums in a sound that can be rather unsettling upon the first few casual listens, yet with repeated jam sessions it almost becomes catchy. Few parts are truly melodic, but with the unconventional, warped song structures don’t be surprised if you find it hard to forget these songs. Southern Storm also harnesses the power of surprise like few albums I’ve ever heard. Tracks like “Minotaur”, “Contradictions of Decay”, and “Combustion Inferno” have extremely creative guitar riffs that will have you scrambling to press rewind. Spiraling arpeggios, lightening fast palm mutes, and furious solos are just a few of the tricks up Krisiun’s sleeve that will not leave you disappointed.

The vocals of Alex Camargo are vicious and add to the already overwhelming force bearing down on you. His low growl is completely monotone throughout the album with no clean singing or high screams to be found, but those aspects are certainly not missed in Krisiun’s war march of a record. There are few frontman who convey the primal power that Carmargo is able to get across (Augury frontman Patrick Loisel comes to mind) and Southern Storm is worth a few spins if for no other reason than to hear the ferocity of songs such as “Whore of the Unlight”. The lyrics are pretty hit or miss, which is to be expected from groups who don’t speak English as a first language, but as is the case with most death metal, the vocals are more a means of rhythmic reinforcement than a vehicle for any profound meditations.

The drumming is outstanding with Max Kolesne delivering the performance of his career. The man could give a clinic on how to play blast beats with authority. From the sounds of “Sentenced Morning” I find it hard to believe he can perform a full concert set with just one drum kit. The violence unleashed on his skins is truly magnificent and stands as an example of how to accentuate the music with percussion. The production on Southern Storm lends itself perfectly to the bass heavy drum work. With a good pair of headphones and a dark room it’s almost possible to feel your body vibrate in time with each kick (which is fuckton of vibrations).

One of the few downsides of this record is also a boon of sorts. All the songs (with the exception of the short acoustic interlude, “Black Wind”) follow the same pattern of brutality, Camargo’s roaring, brutality, solo, and more brutality. While many un-indoctrinated listeners might find this methodology tiresome, those with a more discerning ear will appreciate the fine tuned approach Krisiun took with Southern Storm. There is something to be said for consistency, and with their 7th full length, Krisiun proves why they’re still one of the top death metal acts in the world. Every song has its own identity and each one has multiple sections that are hard to forget, whether it be the raging, feverish solo in “Sons of Pest”, the foreboding, sinister intro to “Contradictions of Decay”, or the mind-melting conclusion of “Massacre Under the Sun”.

Southern Storm is the kind of record that people will either praise endlessly or scorn excessively. With its relentless pace and dizzying array of riffs and vocal patterns, Krisiun’s latest offering will be talked about for years to come. Having jammed this record at least 3 times a day since I first heard it several weeks ago, I can safely say that I have yet to grow remotely tired of it. In a musical landscape overflowing with breakdowns, girl pants, and pig squeals it’s refreshing to hear an old school outfit release such a monstrous, memorable album. If more bands wrote records like Southern Storm the scene would be a better, brighter, and much more brutal place.