After numerous years away from its initial conception, Brazilian thrash bands Skinlepsy cement its return with one of the tempestuous treats of the year in the raging storm of debut album Condemning The Empty Souls. The nine track fury is a scintillating torrential blaze of generously spiced, death metal urged thrash mayhem; a collection of assaults which reap the essences of numerous metal sceneries to create a not necessarily unique consumption but certainly one which is compelling and thrillingly refreshing. An immediate persuasion which gets stronger and more potent with each and every traverse of its creative ferocity, the album is a magnetic pleasure showing again the strength of South American metal.
Skinlepsy was created in 2003 by former members of Siegrid Ingrid, five musicians with extensive experience across other bands and the mutual desire to craft something brutal and new. Consisting of drummer Evandro Jr. (Anthares), guitarists André Gubber (Skullkrusher, Nervochaos) and Sergio Hernandes (Brutal, Elma), bassist Luis Berenguer (Opera), and vocalist Scream (Stun), the band released the Heros Trench (Korzus) produced, three track demo Reign of Chaos. It was met with enthusiastic responses and decent acclaim which sparked good anticipation for the band’s debut album. Their first year though saw the members return to their other projects and Skinlepsy go on a hiatus as such. Fast forward to 2011 and the São Paulo trio of Gubber, Berenguer, and Evandro Junior came back together with an appetite to explore their brutal thrash metal inclinations, spending the second half of the following year recording Condemning the Empty Souls. Fearlessly aggressive and unashamedly adventurous in its intent to avoid being cast into a singular sound, band and album emerge as a thoroughly accomplished and captivating temptation, a violent blood drenched slab of hostility which ignites the passions and enslaves the imagination.
The slowly expanding ambience of opener Crucial Words comes with menace and destructive demons, their whispers and snarls paraded from within sonically crafted shadows before the track explodes into a charge of caustic vocal squalls, uncompromising rhythms, and hungry riffery. It is not a jaw dropping expulsion but one which grips attention firmly and teases further with flirting grooves and an already open adventure to the songwriting and musical stomping. Just like the album the song viciously flirts and seduces ears and emotions to grow in stature and success across its length and multiples exploits within its harsh arms, its presence making a formidable start to an album which grows more potent and impressive as it reaches into its following depths.
The following title track and its successor Crawling as a Worm build on the strong introduction with an intensive predation which ignites the appetite further. The first is a thunderous descent of rhythmic provocation and exhaustive riffing above which a melodically honed sonic rain descends to stretch the imagination, whilst the second unleashes a swarming ravaging of merciless drumming and equally rabid riffing as the vocals of Gubber scowl and crawl all over the senses with a threatening lyrical narrative and his excellent malevolent delivery. The track mixes up its gait and attack throughout with a stalking rapacious approach wrong footing thoughts to leave greed and satisfaction a burning fire before the rest of the album.
Across the release thoughts of Slayer, Exodus, and Machine Head come to mind amongst many, but for the somewhat familiar aspects of the sound each track is a riveting new adventure which leaves expectations redundant. The outstanding Alienation immediately proves the point, its predatory fondling of the ear complete with lethal rhythmic punctuation simply irresistible whilst the bass of Berenguer makes for a dangerous provocateur within the perilous mastery of the imaginative maelstrom.
As mentioned the album just gets better and stronger the deeper into its hulk you go, the likes of the adrenaline driven scourge Perversions of Racial Hatred and the barbarous Pride and Rancour stretching and matching respectively the already incendiary qualities uncaged whilst the contagious Regressing from the End manages to be wholly infectious, venomously malicious, and openly uncomfortable simultaneously. It is an excellent example of the enterprise and invention of the band and why Condemning The Empty Souls is one of the most exciting thrash albums of the year.
Brought to a powerful closure by Global Desolation and Dominium, two tracks which make bruising truculent declarations lyrically and intensive examinations of the band and the senses musically, Condemning The Empty Souls is a thrilling creative fury which is drenched in the promise of even greater things to come from Skinlepsy. If you are looking for an album to feed your traditional thrash metal needs but one with something new and fresh about its toxicity, Condemning The Empty Souls is easily the obvious suggestion.
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