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An intense, highly focused raw BM hurricane epic - 90%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, March 10th, 2016

"Raw to the Rapine" is an apt name for this, the first and so far only full-length recording by Tukaaria, one of the US-based Black Twilight Circle bands who draw on indigenous Mexican and Central American traditions as one of their inspirations and strengths. As raw and aggressive BM goes, the music made by the BTC bands is the rawest, most aggressive and definitely most blood-curdling and desperate of the lot. It's always an event - uh, let me change that - it should always be an event when one of the BTC bands releases an album that we should be able to get our hands on (and occasionally I do, in the case of the BTC double-set compilation and a recent Volahn release), and this one by Tukaaria should have been something broadcast to the wider universe way back in 2011 and again in 2012 when it was reissued by Profound Lore. The album is an expression of the horrors of the brutal and savage conquest of indigenous Mexican peoples (in particular the Yaqui people of Sonora state in Mexico) and the destruction of their cultures by the Spanish crown and missionaries.

At first it sounds messy and chaotic, and it's chock-full of someone screaming like he's having his chest and abdomen ripped open among the ravenous vampiric guitars with their non-stop grind, occasional squealing guitar and the floppy drums relentlessly banging away at super blast-beat speeds. The atmosphere is dark, hellish and claustrophobic throughout, and the mood is beyond desperation and hopelessness. After a couple of hearings, I notice that the vocals are much more varied than my initial impressions of them were: apart from the shrieking, they range from slavering to clean-voiced chanting and rough-edged haranguing to deep guttural swamp-monster growl complete with several layers of algae and barnacle encrustation.

The music is actually much less chaotic than it at first appears: Tukaaria maintain a basic instrumental set-up of guitars, bass, drums and vocals, and from that builds up a mighty roaring beast of dense noise layers, rapid-fire beats and rhythms and a suffocating atmosphere. The singing may be histrionic but the actual music is channelled through repetition, ferocious speed, a minimalist approach and energy into an intense and focused storm that sucks up its listeners and trails them along as prisoners in its wake. All songs are very good but I single out one of the middle tracks, "Prehistoric Silence" I think, for its deep, concentrated and manic focus, its punishing speed, the deranged ambience created by the scrabbling guitars and the incredible crushed-rocks monster vocals, as the most outstanding of all.

The more I hear this album, the more I'm convinced this is a special recording - something new always seems to arise from the apparent chaos and suffering. I only wish it had been longer.

Night Doesn't End - 94%

HeySharpshooter, December 2nd, 2014

Raw to the Rapine is everything great about American black metal.

The formula is standard issue in terms of atmospheric, raw black metal; blast beats, repetition, tortured vocals, lots of reverb, etc, and nothing alien to any fan of the world wide black metal scene. Yet at the same time Raw to the Rapine is distinctly American; more savage, more emotional, less refined and traditional, all in the most subtle and unexpected ways. Bleak and heavy, Tukaaria have also produced an album of deep emotional brevity and unquestionable, if unorthodox, beauty. Melodies slink and shiver beneath mounds of ambient minutia and damaged vocals, evoking both an atmosphere of suffocation and reflection. Fact: Raw to the Rapine has more real emotion in it than a thousand European DSBM genre pieces.

Much in the same way fellow Crep├║sculo Negro/Black Twilight Circle/Rhinocervs/Who The Fuck Cares project Odz Manouk have taken the standard formulas and evoked greater demons from their bowels, Tukaaria have found a way to make atmospheric raw black metal feel incredibly fresh and exciting again. For starters, Raw to the Rapine is fucking heavy, much heavier and brutal than we typically expect from the genre. Tracks like "Chasm of Creation" and "Raw to the Rapine" at times border on blackened death metal, especially "Chasms of Creation;" the riff that kicks in near the mid point is pure Archgoat like devastation. It's an album which is at once very fast in tempo yet very measured in delivery, using a constant wave of blast and thrash beats as a hypnotic base for very slow developing tracks which take their time to reveal all their glory.

Raw to the Rapine also has riffs. Lots of killer, killer riffs. And even more importantly, it knows how to use them, when to change them and when to bring them back. There are times when, especially in black metal, bands don't know when to quit and drag things out just a hair too long or not long enough. It takes a very talented song writer to know when the perfect time is to change things up and keep momentum moving forward, and Tukaaria mastermind Austin Delgadillo really has a masterful sense of spacing and timing on this album. "Prehistoric Silence" is the perfect example of this, always moving forward yet effortlessly progressing through various gorgeous riffs of melodic and dissonant variety, without ever slowing down for even a second yet never becoming tiresome.

The vocals are also noteworthy in the power and diversity of their delivery. Delgadillo doesn't do anything unheard of; high shrieks, mid range roars, deep growls and clean chants all make up the vocal attack. Like the music itself however, it's all about the power of the delivery. Delgadillo is an impassioned, devastating vocalist who simply dominates the record every time his lips part to reveal the beast within. In fact, the final track, the weakest by far, suffers the most from this lack of what makes Raw to the Rapine so great: speed and vocals. A mid-paced musical outro, it has a third the atmosphere of the faster tracks and passes without much remark. It is the lone blemish, and a minor one, but brings the album down a bit near the end.

That's a nitpick if I ever saw one though. Raw to the Rapine is as masterful and enjoyable as any raw black metal album ever to come from the USA. From the production to the song writing to the overall package, this album offers a special glimpse into what makes American black metal such a sadly underrated and under appreciated scene. Fans of this genre looking for a fresh take on old ideas should certainly give this album their time, and any fan of dynamic, powerful riffs should be impressed. Raw to the Rapine is worthy to stand with any modern black metal release.