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Cool Hospitable Lava That Grows Anything - 50%

bayern, October 13th, 2018

I can imagine how disheartening it must have been for the 80’s fanbase to witness the softening in the camps of all the Brazilian brutalizers (Sarcofago, Vulcano, MX, Sepultura, Dorsal Atlantica, Holocausto, Sextrash, etc.) on the second, or third at the latest, instalments once those acts had decided that their mission, to spawn the extreme metal genres (death, black, grind) that is, was accomplished. In most cases the transition led to fairly positive results…

but not in the case of our seismologists here who were ahead of everyone from said batch with two full-lengths released in quick succession, violent bloody opuses full of unrestrained black/thrash/death outrages. This is the reason why the slackening encountered in their midst must have been the most disappointing, the album reviewed here having very little to do with their opulently brutal beginnings. Well, three eruptions of the same shattering effect would have made them heroes, also worldwide…

but that wasn’t a scenario our friends were willing to follow; and this is why we, the fans, had to face this effort here, an album that I still have problems taking seriously after all these years. Its predecessors were hardly masterpieces from a compositional and execution point-of-view, but who needed this dishevelled quasi-thrasher remains to anyone’s guessing. When the finest song is a re-worked version of an old tune (the unrelenting Whiplash-esque speed/thrasher “Witche's Sabbath” from their early demo days) one would instantly know that something is wrong here, and not only because the goofily ambitious, not always predictable thrash/crossover opener “The Next” seems to go on endlessly without offering anything too ear-grabbing outside the abrasive barrage, awkwardly switching moods and pace to the listener’s stupefaction. The title-track and “Different Lands” hit around the mark being more consistent semi-headbangers, but blatant stripped-down descents into punk/hardcore ("Fuck Them", "Do You Remember") easily dissipate whatever attempts at a more serious song-writing start gathering, not to mention the nearly epic exercise in power/proto-thrash metal which is "Flies Around the Shit", the hymn that may have spawned the 90’s power/speed metal movement… kidding here, of course, but this somewhat sloppily stitched piece could have influenced the guys’ compatriots Attomica for another similar “thrash meets power meets speed meets other stuff along the way” assembly on the better constructed “Limits of Insanity” a year later; only that the band here are adamant on providing more tricks for the power/speed metal audience which leads to “Hercobulus”, the longest composition here which tries to balance, not very successfully, the plot between the main power metal frame and the several surging thrashcore excursions.

The album-title is far from a mere rhetorical question; Vulcano were by no means the true; in fact, they strayed so far from the true here that returning to the truth seemed like the most unenviable task out there. The lack of musical dexterity and interesting ideas in their camp became even more obvious a few months later once both their contemporaries (Sepultura, MX, Dorsal Atlantica, Holocausto) and the latecomers (Mutilator, The Mist, Chakal) from their homeland threw them in the side-lines with much superior offerings. Once the need for extremity and aggression on the scene was satiated, Vulcano served to no purpose as this tepid “anything goes” mish-mash here was hardly their answer to the more demanding technical/progressive turn the metal circuit took in the late-80’s.

Still, one should give them credit for their willingness to keep jumping into the ratrace that the music industry was amply offering at the start of the new decade, and to shoot their fourth outing two years later which automatically made them the most prolific Brazilian metal formation of the 80’s/early-90’s; probably something to be proud of, especially since this “Ratrace” was a vast improvement over its predecessor with thrash occupying the front seat, mortifying the emergence of other influences for most of the time. Another plus in their resume should also be the fact that they folded right after without falling prey to the new vogues, like quite a few (Holocausto, Dorsal Atlantica, Overdose, etc.) of their compatriots, and returned to the scene 14 years later once the old school was reinstated… cause this is where their hearts and souls have remained, with the classic metal values, and this is what their works from the new millennium have displayed, retro thrash anthems by-and-large peppering the soundscape, no overt brutality, no ill-advised insertions from other genres, nothing too striking by any standards, but steady and consistent enough to make one cast apprehensive looks at both the active and dormant vulcanoes… sorry, volcanoes around the world.

You Are the Next - 61%

Byrgan, August 1st, 2008

Vulcano seems to like jumping around into varying metal genres. Although, they remained the same with the line up as the last Antropophagy album. The production on that album couldn't have saved its overall song writing. But this album lessened the amount of time they played and somewhat improved the production, compared to the distant sounding last recording. It is still not as smooth as latex, and not entirely coarse either. Finding a varying texture that is known only to an old household quilt. Tucked away with loose fibers and a faded front—and a yearning to keep it around.

The music did a tone-down, and they probably realized what they were capable of doing as a slightly new line up. They on occasion play at a medium thrash speed, but it doesn't go into hyper thrash mode, and there are a lot of moments where they will just jam out in a slower to mid-level fix. Pulling out traditional hard rock, speed and heavy metal overtones were what they were capable of doing on Live, but they resurrect these past tendencies more so on here than the past two full lengths; which hardly carried semblances. There are also a few eccentric moments that I can't get over listening to on this album. The two biggest are some of the gang vocals and the random whistle blowing, what?! There isn't just one song that does the obnoxious group type of vocals, but numerous. I know this filled vocal time in from the spaces on the last and showed variety. But the way they project them reminds me more of an uplifting moment, rather than an all-around cool sounding (possibly naughty) and phrased (intentionally raunchy) chorus line that you might not want your community moral leader to hear. What happens behind closed doors never hurt anyone, or does it? Who are the true? How the hell would I know? Who said you couldn't answer a question with a question?

The guitarist finds his niche at a more conventional metal standpoint. His best riffs emerge at mid-pace level, and he shows off some good moody solo sections during the album's time span. The kind that sound like higher, overlapping, leading rhythms and you don't feel as if he is showing off. He also simplified some rhythms, so don't expect anything far from basic chugged sections and switching power chords. At this point, I like this style better, because I can actually remember a certain guitar line, rather than him trying to impress you with a progressive riff with no personality. Comparing that to some moments on Anthropophagy. The bass guitar is surprisingly heard on here, there is even a small solo section on the beginning of 'Flies Around the Shit.' Which uses a flashy rock style, possibly even tipping his shades down the bridge of his nose and pointing a single, influenced finger back at the 70s.

Angel's vocals somewhat evolved from Bloody Vengeance to Antropophagy to here. He matches the guitar lines and bridges them around the chorus sections. He might say a few quickies and give room for the riffs to breathe. At other points there is a constant motion involved where he'll match the timing of the guitars and drums without an elongated pause. He uses an adjusted hoarse voice. Making it sound like it might actually be his voice. On the beginning section of 'Who Are the True?' he spontaneously uses a short high pitched falsetto. There are moments where there are a few odd-ball antics too, like on the first track titled 'The Next,' as the music winds down at the end. The lyrics by the way talk about picking up a young girl for one reason or another. He says, "Hey, do you want ta be the nexta, jaaa, ja-ja-ja-ja." I can almost imagine him doing this from a partially cracked and tinted window of a raggedy old plumber's van, air-brushed and epic looking predatory wolf on the rear windows, that accents the grease smeared and dirt stained side paneling collage, with easy-slider kidnapper doors leading into liter-laden hell. An ominous automobile that not only smells as bad as it looks, spells Trouble with a proud capital 'T,' but nasty and old, four-wheeled transportation that just plain screams, "SLEAZE!"

Hey jerks, what ever happened to cover art? A logo and a name, huh. Well at least the color scheme is dark in a simplistic kind of way, and the plain cover at least calls upon the deadly duo of: blood-red and abyss-black. Maybe, they were going for the exhibit of a hard back book, when you take off the cover jacket. It has the modest design and glossy or engraved letters. Which have an archaic, basic, mysterious feel that can only be found at yard sales from dusty attic possessions, family owned book stores, and possibly bargain bins from an aging library. The creepy old man hands over the dusty, arcane looking possible treasure, with a shaky hand and a quizzical eye. A book that when you pick it up, unexpectedly and boldly says, "Hey, hurry and open me up and take a look you curious s.o.b. Don't just stand there dummy. Afraid I've got a baaad disease that me and your great grandmother might have in common." Upon closer inspection, said the wise-crackin', booze-breathin', cigarette stenched book with rough 5 O' clock stubble that was thought to initially be a layer of dust. See, this book is alive, and you are the next, haaa, ha-ha-ha!

Vulcano emits an overall, do-whatever-attitude here. A charismatic, personal side, with a back-pacing agenda. So having a taste for out-of-nowhere looniness and off-the-wallness (exaggerated of course) might make you slightly understand how I took their change of attitude displayed on Who Are the True? Because honestly, who knows. They're floating on their own clouds, made from their own peculiar, atmospheric elements.

With a sudden line up change on the last, they tried to make due within a short amount of time. Although, on here, Vulcano seems like they took a break from trying to impress you by outdoing themselves. Instead, they took a less extreme stance on their metal playing ways, and opted to go back into their catalogue and expose their buried roots. Which, overall, comes across as a little eccentric; with, possibly even then, dated gang vocals; some kind of continuous drinking buddy chorus saying, "oh, oh...oh, oh" during 'Do You Remember'; in the middle of 'The Next,' shifting with some very short bongo resembling drum section that would make Tito Puente drool and clap; also I have no idea what they were thinking with that random coach's whistle blowing during the close of one of the songs either. So maybe Vulcano was having a little more fun than you will with this. But again this would be a random album to jump into, unless you might of enjoyed their live album. And might want to see where they would have gone playing a slightly similar but evolved style as that. But in a more personal and eccentric way that might only place it in a genre related category.