Recent months have seen numerous impressive thrash metal assaults unleashed to which Italian metallers Cancrena have added another formidable release with their thunderous predator Hidden Depravity. Whilst the album uses well mined sounds and ventures it turns them into one of the most powerful, destructive, and downright thrilling records to ravage the passions. The album is a brute of an encounter and thoroughly irresistible.
From Bari, Cancrena formed in 2000 reaping essences from influences such as Pantera, Testament, and Sepultura. Loaded with heavy merciless riffs and an even hungrier energy the band became a recognised force on the local live scene spreading outwards across southern Italy through further gigs and festivals. From a two track self-titled demo in 2003 and the self-produced seven track Fears demo of 2005, which included that first duo of songs, Cancrena grew their reputation further to inspire mounting acclaim through their shows and the new EP. Another demo Underneath emerged the following year leading to a signing with Vision Metal Records in 2008 who gave the demo distribution in the US and UK. Shows with the likes of Obituary, Extrema, Pino Scotto (ex-Vanadium), Finntroll, Vomitory, Malevolent Creations, Paw Power and many more followed over the next three years before the band ventured in the studio last year to record Hidden Depravity, a powerhouse of southern thrash metal.
Released through Logic(il)Logic Records, Hidden Depravity takes no prisoners as immediately evident by the beginning of opener Serpent Skin. Emerging from within senses gnawing carnal mists, the song steps forward through a bassline with the most compelling snarl and a torrent of tight destructive rhythms and ravenous riffs linked by a groove which scythes through the ear like a sonic sabre. Soon the vocals of Francesco Morgese unleash passionate scowls with skill and enterprise to match the already riveting guitar play of Francis Farinola. Well into its stride the song is openly soaked in the aggressive malice of Pantera and driven by an insatiable rich creative craft comparable to a Sepultura or Metallica. It is an explosive start to the album which never lets up through to the end.
The following tempest of hungry energy and senses corroding intensity brought by The Pessimist is equally contagious and demanding. At times there is a Dez Fafara venom and growl to the vocals which lay a deeper abrasion upon the listener whilst musically the track fuses annihilatory intent and smouldering melodic flames together for a full on torrent of voracious invention. Nearing its end the song stops as if over then returns with a furnace of a climax which leaves one breathless and delirious.
The bass of Fab Chiarazzo is a perpetual hypnotic joy across the whole album, his deeply rapacious lines as devastating as they are dangerously seductive whilst the rhythms of drummer Ruggiero Ricco feel like a torrent of unpredictable donkey punches upon the senses. Through the tremendous assaults of songs like Pervert Priest, Dark Torment, and Backdraft, the pair unleash a heavy persuasion and brutality which alone leaves the passions aflame but once lock ‘n’ loaded into primal shotguns of songs alongside the burning craft and rich potency of the guitars and vocals, a willing submission is only a matter of crossing the ’i’s and dotting the ‘t’s.
The further in the release one is thrust the more the intensity and pleasure escalates, tracks such as Black Underground with its twisting vehement structure and crushing union of rhythmic ruination and rabidly greedy riffs, the Bloodsimple toned ravaging Ancient Strength, and the staggering title track, all finely honed storms of savagery and sonic mastery. The last of these three is a mighty metallic wrath which consumes and devours the senses with rich rage and violent authority but as across the album, the band tempering it slightly with a wonderful skilful and imaginative melodic warm.
From first note to last the release is a snarling ravager though it unexpectedly and beautifully gives respite nearing its end through the magnetic instrumental To Nerve Oneself, the piece showing the band as able to create colourful melodic pictures as skilfully and easily as they can grievously decimate. Of course it is only a moment of relief as the band end the album with another staggering riot of murderous rampage in the intensive Under The Law. With sonic fires flaming with melodic brilliance within the ferocity it is a mighty end to an outstanding album. Many will suggest there is nothing new going on upon Hidden Depravity and arguably they are right but when it sounds this sensational who cares. Cancrena makes thrash metal which matters and far better than most.
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