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What the bloody hell... - 5%

droneriot, February 16th, 2016

Okay, so curiosity got the better of me. Been reading a few times that these guys who released one of the best Brazilian death/thrash albums of all times started out with something that isn't exactly what they became legendary for. I didn't have any desire to find out what it might sound like because quite frankly I want Bloody Vengeance and nothing more from this band. And then curiosity got the better of me. That's how it kills cats.

Actually a lot of the descriptions I have read for this album do not apply, some people appear to be hearing more than I do. The music minus the vocals is a third rate knock off of the first two Iron Maiden albums. There is nothing more to it. Maybe a small bit of faux emotion in the third song "inspired by" (without the inspiration) Black Sabbath's cheesier moments. The remaining three songs are a braindead interpretation of what Maiden did in their Di'Anno days. It's so blatant, it would almost be plagiarism if it was possible that Maiden had actually written material as poor by accident just to discard it and ship the best forgotten recordings to Brazil to be worsened further. The style is exactly the same, just without any of the songwriting skills.

Oh yeah, and then there's a Brazilian guy randomly doing karaoke night after a barrel of whatever hard liquor they drink in Brazil, possibly some other drugs and most definitely one or more serious head injuries. What the fuck? Not even school bands get away with vocals like that here, not even at special needs schools. If I wouldn't offend a few hundred million people saying it, I'd say the language makes it sound even more retarded, but the language probably sounds fine when it isn't butchered in such a way anyway.

And that's it. Fifteen minutes of the most idiotic Iron Maiden worship that should have been clear that it never should have been released during the recording of the vocals at the latest. What were they trying to accomplish with this? Pro-tip to all you Brazilians out there: Before you start a metal band in the early 80s, make sure you discover Venom first.

An out-of-place, calm and progressive Vulcano - 25%

Byrgan, May 25th, 2009

Vulcano got their start back in the early '80s when only so many bands were releasing metal material in Brazil. I've only been able to find five other bands with releases from '82 and '83: Stress, Dorsal Atlântica, Zero Hora, Azul Limão and Karisma. Rio's Dorsal Atlântica would beat them by a year with their demo, but it is safe to say after hearing this and Dorsal's material there isn't much to brag about of either release. However, when Vulcano started it was a different musical take. This is even compared to their 'Live!' album, and even further away from their aggressive sounding pinnacle 'Bloody Vengeance.' Instead they play a tranquil style of '70's and early '80's progressive rock, and it might be pushing it to say 'Om Pushne Namah' has a loose traditional heavy metal feel. This is at a point where only original bassist Zhema is present, who would later switch to guitar duties as well.

On each version I've come across, the production has been very hard to swallow; essentially creating an extreme distance and containing a lower-than-low volume. However, exclude the crunch and metal-thickness that would be on later albums. The vocals are the loudest part and drown out the other instruments. The guitars are heard best when there is a solo because of its high pitched nature, otherwise it can resemble a distant distorted tone. The bass guitar and drums are flush with each other, sort of like a heavy blanket was placed over the microphone and made each one of them sound like undetectable bass. You can hardly tell a snare drum from a tom or bass drum.

The music is relaxed, moody and tranquil sounding. The vocalist uses a strictly sung and melodious voice. Big and destructive like a volcano, more like a scenic and grass grown over retired and calm volcano. Genne sings in Portuguese and, unlike soon-to-become member Angel, makes it sound like one of the hand full of romance languages; pouring his heart out about who knows what or cares. I'm only giving fair warning for an unsuspecting fan of their later discography, who might want to wander back into their first release; stumble and trip unexpectedly is more like it. What can be detected of the music sounds progressive, with countless solos and intentionally smooth rhythms. There is pretty much a rhythm guitar constantly going, and a lead guitar that takes full advantage of solos throughout the recording. Using high pitched string pulls, with scales that are played ridiculously fast, and it even sounds like he uses a few moments of finger tapping; a type 'A' virtuoso. There are leads even when the vocalist is singing and attempting to take the reigns; the lead guitarist just doesn't know when to step aside and give someone else the show. Though I have to admit there is a pretty cool pick-up part mid-way on the first track, 'Cidade Dos Porcos,' that has an almost primitive speed beat as the rhythm guitar uses a basic palm muted riff and the lead guitarist again shreds overtop with his wailing, distanced reverb-out licks. 'Besta Cibernética' uses about a ten second part towards the end where the drummer almost does a primitive pounding on his snare and bass drum, I don't want to say blast, but it can resemble something in the same vicinity but was probably a fluke. I'm pretty sure I've even seen the drummer Buddy Rich do something similar.

It can seem strange how a band can change so much in that short of a time, at least compared to their full length that would come out only three years later. Though it makes sense since musicians would be dropped and others rostered up, and according to interviews this was supposedly written in 1974. They slowly turned into a much more aggressive later band and line-up, which they seem to be more well known for, and undeniably better at entertaining an audience as an aggressive personality. Adding Angel as a rougher vocalist on the next output, 'Devil on my Roof,' as well as switching guitarists helped re-enforce Vulcano after this as well.

Diving back into 'Om Pushne Namah' is like swimming upstream, attempting to even detect certain pieces with its distant sound. You'll end up hushing up the room and pulling up a chair close to the speakers just to get a glimpse. But most importantly the overall music shows a very calm, and yet an out-of-place, progressive Vulcano at an early stage. They sound more conventional at this point as well, coming across as more hard rock, with a few moments of on-the-border traditional metal too. After this many years, this release seems more for nostalgic references because it might be a chore for it to come anywhere close to a casual and enjoyable listening experience beyond the first time. Although, just wanting to hear the only original member Zhema on bass, and no one else present from their later outputs, is essentially like a different band with 'Vulcano' slapped on the cover of their release. I can imagine this was even passed over at the time of its release by someone into metal and looking for more of an edge—though this is if they were able to find one of the 500 that the band put out then—since this contains a questionably commercial sound, even with a track called, 'Santos City,' where they're originally from in São Paulo.