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Asylum Seekers from The Central American Metalhood - 96%

bayern, June 16th, 2017

Wow, it this isn’t a most pleasant surprise: from the murky jungles of Central America comes some really outstanding technical thrash with a mostly modern, but with a tad of classic flavour as well. I’m struggling right now to recall another metal act from Nicaragua that I have listened to; I know a couple of Salvador, Honduras (the mighty G.O.D.), Costa Rica, even Cuba… but from Nicaragua, I don’t think so. Shame of course, and I’ll do my best to correct this database error in the near future, but for now let’s concentrate on these Schizoids here as they have managed to bewitch the fanbase for a second time with the album reviewed here.

The first time it was with “Asylum”, the debut, in 2005 which was a first-rate modern shredder laying the foundations for the excellence exuded here which starts with “The Sloth”; not a promising title by any means, and although the guys don’t break any speed barriers, they manage to captivate the listener with great mazey arrangements and clever heavy steam-rolling riffs sustained in mid-pace for most of the time. “Vertex” is a more of a “vortex” actually, with head-spinning riff-formulas and dramatic progressive build-ups both gimmicks recalling luminaries like Theory in Practice and Martyr, the acquired more death metal-ish flavour also coming with more brutal speedier additives. “Supercritical” is a modern sterile technicaller with aeons… sorry, echoes of Altered Aeon, Darkane and Nevermore although later on the band notch it up in both terms of technicality and aggression reaching Atheist-esque heights towards the end.

“Mockery of Words” is more on the melodic side, at least at the beginning, but it’s business as usual in the technical department with fast-paced galloping accumulations and a stunning head-spinning sweep ala Coroner mid-way, not to mention the dazzling melodic leads. “The Devils Servant” finally epitomizes a fulsome death metal flair after the several “flirtations” with the genre earlier, and “drowns” the listener in swirls of flashy guitar pyrotechnics with echoes of Necrophagist and Atheist again. “Imprisonment” returns on thrash territory with more linear, more direct guitars, the most conventional piece here. “The Product” is the next in line exhibition of technical mastery with a wide array of tempo changes and several intriguing time-signatures; and “Walking Amongst You” ends this very eventful opus with a labyrinth of super-technical rifforamas the ever-changing rhythms overlapping each other in a dizzying fashion reaching a hallucinogenic climax as a finale.

Spellbinding from beginning to end, this effort nicely recalls the great thrash/death metal hybrids from the early-90’s like Baphomet’s “No Answers”, Hellwitch’s “Syzygial Miscreancy”, Invocator’s “Excursion Demise”, Atheist’s “Piece of Time”, and Nocturnus’ “The Key”, only composed within a more modernized setting. The musicianship is absolutely top-notch the guys matching every single axeman from the American North in terms of precision and dexterous execution. Mentioning the music, they produced an all-instrumental version of the album here four years later losing the singer whose forceful shouty semi-recitals ala Sacred Reich’s Phil Rind weren’t bad at all. It’s true that the music is way more engaging than the vocal exploits, but the guy is by no means an impediment to the exemplary shredding feats of his colleagues.

Just as I was thinking of how a contemporary technical thrash outfit could pull it off on a third showing (Vektor spaced out way too much on “Terminal Redux”), came “Evil Incarnate”, literally a couple of months after the all-instrumental affair. The thing is that I tend to forget about this act; I had completely forgotten about them when the album here reached me although I did listen to their debut, and I also have it in my collection; and again, several months after I got a hold of the sophomore I forgot about it regardless of the multiple times I listened and moshed around on it… I guess “schizoids” are not meant to be remembered… With this instalment now a fact I promise to do my best to have them occupy a larger portion of my memory... Anyway, this “incarnation of evil” sees the guys simplifying their approach a bit, shortening the song’s length as well, and tossing away the death metal aura. May not sound like the perfect sequel to some, and indeed it doesn’t quite reach the manic grandeur of its predecessor. There’s plenty of interesting moments for the fans to enjoy; it’s just that four years down the line the band are taking it easy, not straying themselves too much providing less than half an hour of stylish, but not very complex and not inordinately technical music. Still, it should definitely do the trick to keep Nicaragua on the metal map until the emergence of other “schizoid” metallic formations from there.