Skinlepsy – Condemning The Empty Souls


    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.


RingMaster 18/10/2013

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Nervochaos: To the Death

Nervochaos Photo 2

    Raw, ravenous, and potently aggressive with a maelstrom of insidious grooves which just tease and coax the passions into their version of an erection, To the Death is an album you just cannot avoid finding strong affection for. The new release from Brazilian metallers Nervochaos is not without flaws or maybe a sense of a lost opportunity but it also leaves one more than satisfied and willing to share precious time with the release on a regular basis.

Formed in 1996, Nervochaos has unleashed their underground acclaimed blend of death and thrash metal consistently through the years and over a series of well received releases. They do not offer the most angry or violent sound around and you will find other more intense and destructive encounters elsewhere for sure but as with this their fifth album, the band has a compelling presence and creativity which ticks enough of the right boxes to be a welcome and pleasing companion. The grooves unleashed within the death metal breath and thrash powered bruises posing as songs are of a devil spawn irresistibility and make the band one you cannot ignore. Released via Cogumelo Records, the new album follows their live album of 2011 and the previous full length release Battalions of Hate of the year before, both Tumba Records released. Gaining a cult status in the underground extreme metal scene the quartet of vocalist /guitarist Guiller, guitarist Quinho, bassist Felipe Freitas, and drummer Eduardo Lane, has equally impressed alongside the likes of Venom, Cannibal Corpse, Agnostic Front, Mayhem, The Exploited, Carcass, Divine Heresy, Ragnarok, and many more, the quartet continually adding to their strong reputation.

The album opens with the high energy Mark of the Beast, a fury of unforgiving rhythms and gnawing riffs shaped around a hungryNervochaos To The Death Cover persistent groove. It does not offer anything new or inventively breath-taking but like a sonic magnet has ears and attention locked into its unfettered energy. Ok it is relatively undemanding but still opens up the album with an accomplished and riveting presence which sets up the rest of the release perfectly.

Sheep Amongst Wolves with its gnarly bass and serpentine sonic flames stands tall next to continue the emerging compelling persuasion of the release. Again there is irresistibility to the flowing craft and intent of the song with another defined groove at mischievous play alongside further inviting melodic fire from the guitars. It does not quite live up to the opener but makes a more than decent bridge to the first of the highlights of the album in Your World’s Trend. This track opens almost identically to how its predecessor ended but soon opens up a variation to the sonic beckoning and pummelling rhythms it unleashes. It is the group vocal shouts alongside the persistently scarring scowls of Guiller which help raise the game further and lies impressively against the excellent erosive grind of the track.

Whilst the following likes of Gospel of Judas, The Exile, and Smoking Mortal Remains ensure one is gripped by a strong need to delve deeper into the album, the release saves its finest moments for a couple of tracks nestled within the trio. The title track opens with the snarling bass opening its deep cavernous throat with tight mesmeric grooves of the guitars soon joining the confrontation. Unrelenting rhythms soon entrap the senses within their merciless tempest whilst now into its stride, the track sets frees a deluge of eager synapse chewing riffs and a sonic whipping which leaves only bliss in its glorious wake. It is two and a half minutes of delicious enterprise and greedy contagion impossible to deny and heartily welcomed. To match the impressive attack of the first the following Hate piles on more infectious riffing and primal chuggery around instinctive rapture sparking twisting grooves.

Arguably the album never reaches the heights of this excellent pair elsewhere but still offers plenty to grab the imagination. To the Death does have a familiar uniformity across a lot of its creativity and sound which holds the release back reaching the depth of acclaim maybe it could have found but is still impressive and enjoyable enough to make the album one easy to recommend. As songs like Mind Under Siege, Destroyer of Worlds, and Warlords Unbound continue to make the encounter a pleasing one this is an album that is easy to continually return to and Nervochaos a band with some of the most agreeable grooves and riffing ability around.

RingMaster 29/01/2013

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