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Overlooked gem. - 85%

MemoriesRemain, July 4th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Cogumelo Records

Funeral Serenade, the overlooked follow up to Sextrash's classic cult Sexual Carnage. Now with a new line up, a 5-piece, 1992 saw the band developing a way more technical style than in their previous album, with lots of well-structured riffs, ranging from fast and frenzied to slow, doomy ones, double bass drumming, good solos, and some times, some keyboard passages.

I don't know why, but I feel like lots of people neglect this album. I don't know if they miss the legendary D.D. Crazy on drums, or if they're just too lazy to take a nice listen to it. I can't really find comparisons because they play their very original style on this one (not that the previous one wasn't), so it does not sound like American or Swedish bands, but it was certainly one of the best death metal releases of 1992. Tracks like the self-titled Funeral Serenade, with its raging blast beat attack, Wind Assassin, with its thrash-y guitar riff, and the superb Bizarre, with its manic verse riff and demented and catchy particular "flow" in its vocals are many of the stand out tracks on this 10 track (9, original vinyl version) album filled with well-structured songs managing to balance quite right the levels of brutality, melody and doominess. Simply a must have. I know Sexual Carnage is great. Hell it is. But give this one a chance too, I guarantee you a good listen. It's only 34 minutes. You can even listen to it twice in a row.

No ideas here...I'm sorry. - 50%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, January 28th, 2008

Ok, starting from the point that I love fast and brutal stuff, I decided to have a listen to some of the most famous (for the underground) brutal metal bands for Brazil, for example Exterminio, Exterminator, Chakal and these Sextrash. They are very different in their way of doing extreme metal but surely Sextrash are the ones who was mostly inspired by Sarcofago, also because they are the youngest ones among the groups I said.

Sextrash way of playing can be considered a mix of thrash/speed metal for the guitars parts and grind/death for the drums, always very fast and often on blast beats. Well, sometimes like in the title track they don’t fit the sound at all because the guitar lines required simply up tempos or even semi up tempos. The beginning of “Wind Assassin” is doomy and reminds me early Pestilence also for the vocals and the obscure guitars lines. Not bad but absolutely not catchy or remarkable.

They try in all the ways to be morbid in “Prohibited Angels” but they don’t succeed…it’s like hearing Mystifier running out of ideas. Soon after the tempos increase ‘till reaching the blast beats, always a bit generic. Anyway the drummer is not bad, especially for the bass drum but the main problem is that here none has good ideas for the music. Everything is too generic and apart from some good solos there are few things left to appreciate.

I think that the group best way of doing metal is pointing on pure thrash parts, without too chaotic blast beats. “Make Sex Not War” is quite good for this but not enough…at the end I have to say that if you like old Brazilian thrash/death listen to other groups like the ones I said before or Mutilator and obviously to mighty old Sepultura.

One disappointing follow-up - 40%

Byrgan, May 11th, 2006

Sextrash came out a little late in the game with their death and thrash mixed debut "Sexual Carnage" in 1990. It was still an entertaining release with some of the sound from bands in the same state of Brazil that they come from. "Funeral Serenade," however, would take on a much more modern and conforming death metal sound for '92.

You can subtract pretty much any of Sextrash's past signatures, such as the temperamental attitude, irregular higher riffs and even the those characteristic dual vocal types giving us a crude English accent and all. You know, essentially all of the cool stuff that they included that was flawed but had some raw charm and emotion to back it up. A lot was changed possibly for status placement and ironically this release landed them in the shadows for a bunch of years instead of the other way around. The production got a shiny gleam of polish compared to previous releases, though even how they play is yet another slap in the ear.

The structure of the guitars can go from basic to somewhat technical, and one positive aspect here is that they aren't usually hung up in one area for long. When more straightforward, they include tremolo chug, mid-range chug, choo-choo train chug, with some, God forbid, open chords! It sort of reminds me of the scene in the movie Forrest Gump where the character Bubba keeps adding "shrimp" at the end of everything he says, except, here, its charm can soon wear thin. Though, when he's not going for direct brutality, he does pull out some progressive sounding rhythms that might get good exercise of the fret board, such as plucking a rapid amount of single strings or even varied strums. When soloing, he generally does something very similar to the extended dive-bomb whammy bar techniques Obituary used. Alongside, the bass guitar can be heard prominently with a clean slapping style.

The speed can be played as slow as a snail in a few areas to work its way up to escalating blasts that are typically brief and joined with a pause or break. The drums are heavily triggered and, in turn, give this a mechanical sound with the double bass drums frequently and precisely clicking away. Typically when a band is in blasting mode, the energy should be high, your heart should be pumping in and out, except, here, it feels like an extremity that goes by your ears without affect. It could be the cleaner production, but, then again, it could also be the band just plain playing a style that doesn't entirely feel their own. The vocals are growled, but aren't a full-on gut crunching exertion, more at a gruff or a snarl, with some peaking higher tones in select areas. There are also a few rare moments where keyboards are used, such as "Bizarre" using some simulated strings while gradually raising the volume till the section changes. Also, this one mystical sounding keyboard effect during a short segment in "Torment of a Suicide," is along the lines of a piece in a Dan Swano project.

I've got some good use out their "Sexual Carnage" release, but, on the other hand, this would honestly better serve your dripping drink than your record player. "Funeral Serenade" is what happens when half of the original lineup disappears (guitarist, drummer), and when the remaining members keep the name but flip around their motivation from a raw and flawed but likeable style to jumping on a '90's death metal trend wagon without adding much in the way of new. I mean, the potential is here, but it feels too safe and without any major risks, even in '92, and especially for a genre that should be all about it. It's like the band lost some of their focus along the way to somewhat legitimize themselves. This has all too similar song writing that I've heard Death, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary and Nocturnus pull off already, and instead of it being this Frankenstein with all the best parts, the feeling is as if they are trying too hard to be like them. Put it this way, it's like walking into a store and choosing a less quality product, and when you go home and think you've got yourself a good deal, find out you've instead pretty much got what you paid for: a by-the-numbers, meetin'-the-grade product, and with an expiration date that's just around the corner.

Check out Expulser's "The Unholy One" instead if you want a consistently entertaining death metal release that came out in the same year and area of Brazil as Sextrash. Or give a try to Incantation's "Onward to Golgotha," Deicide's "Legion," Vital Remains's "Let Us Pray," Monstrosity's "Imperial Doom" of the same year as well if you already haven't.