Album Review – Cronaxia / Collapsing The Outer Structure (2018)

After two decades of their inception, this talented Portuguese Death Metal squad is finally unleashing upon humanity their pulverizing and very technical debut opus.

Born in the distant year of 1997 in the capital city Lisbon, Portuguese Death Metal horde Cronaxia has been fighting for extreme music in the fantastic Portuguese underground scene since their inception, never giving up despite all their struggles to find the right musicians and finally solidify their lineup and sound through the years. Currently a trio consisting of Sérgio on vocals and Renato and Filipe on the guitars, Cronaxia recruited bassist Alex Ribeiro and drummer Rolando Barros (both from Portuguese Brutal Death Metal/Grindcore band Grog) now in 2018 to give life to their first full-length album, a pulverizing and very technical lesson in Death Metal titled Collapsing the Outer Structure, highly recommended for fans of bands like early Kataklysm, Morbid Angel and Deeds Of Flesh.

Mixed and mastered by Paulo Vieira, known for his production work with Ironsword and Ravensire, Collapsing The Outer Structure is a work that walks the tightrope between genius and insanity, with songs like the jagged, restless “Dimension Ratio” being a vivid explosion of mind warping ideas. Immersed within these eight conceptual whirlwinds, the feeling is akin to having the secrets of the universe downloaded directly to your cerebral cortex in a fraction of a second. Bewildering yet incredible, almost too much to comprehend, you will find few listening experiences as overwhelming and intense as Collapsing The Outer Structure. It may have taken Cronaxia two decades to reach this defining moment, but now that their planets have aligned the force that has been unleashed is momentous and breathtaking.

In the title-track Collapsing the Outer Structure we already face total devastation in less than five seconds, with Rolando living up to the legacy of classic stone crushers of Death Metal while frontman Sérgio growls and barks like a rabid beast, sounding frantic and furious from start to finish. If this brutal welcome card is not enough for your metallic ears, Cronaxia don’t waste a single second and keep hammering our heads with their ruthless music in Logarithmic Cavitation, an insanely violent, heavy and extreme display of underground music made in Portugal where Felipe and Renato are in total sync with their lancinating riffs and solos, followed by The Core Condition, another brutish and demolishing hymn showcasing thunderous bass lines by Alex while the vocal lines get deeper and more demented than before, sounding and feeling as dense as Extreme Metal can be but also being very technical and polished. And get ready to be smashed by Cronaxia and their sharp and cataclysmic Death Metal in Dimension Ratio, where Rolando fires some sick blast beast and fills while Felipe and Renato continue to extract complex and demonic sounds and tones from their guitars.

The awesome Continuous Signal brings forward a pulverizing atmosphere crafted by the band, being tailored for fans of the early days of Cannibal Corpse with a fresh twist, not to mention Sérgio never gets tired of vociferating rabidly and deeply. Then it’s time for a galloping and demented composition titled Embryonic Reanimation, led by the bestial drumming by Rolando while Felipe and Renato show no mercy for their guitars (neither for our necks), whereas their second to last onrush of gruesome and very technical and melodic sounds comes in the form of Plasmatech, crushing our senses with its metallic riffs and unstoppable blast beats. Put differently, what a devastating (and absolutely awesome) Death Metal extravaganza by Cronaxia, with highlights to Sérgio’s cavernous growls. Hence, if you’re still alive after such demented level of aggression and dexterity by Cronaxia you’ll have your ears and mind decimated by Tangential Threshold, offering six minutes of deep guttural gnarls, nonstop beats and extremely sharp and acid riffs, or in other words, a lesson in Progressive and Technical Death Metal, ending the album in a rumbling, neck-breaking and somewhat esoteric manner.

In order to have your ears smashed by Cronaxia, simply go to Spotify to listen to Collapsing The Outer Structure in its entirety, and if their music makes your blood boil as expected, you should definitely show them your utmost support by following them on Facebook, subscribing to their YouTube channel, and grabbing your copy of the album from their BandCamp page, from the Lusitania Music webstore, from Amazon or from Discogs. By doing that, you’ll prove you have what it takes to “collapse the outer structure” together with this talented Portuguese squad in the name of Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: Dimension Ratio, Continuous Signal and Plasmatech.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Lusitanian Music

Track listing
1. Collapsing the Outer Structure 2:07
2. Logarithmic Cavitation 4:03
3. The Core Condition 4:11
4. Dimension Ratio 3:43
5. Continuous Signal 3:34
6. Embryonic Reanimation 3:02
7. Plasmatech 4:39
8. Tangential Threshold 6:03

Band members
Sérgio – vocals
Felipe – guitars, vocals
Renato – guitars, vocals

Guest musicians
Alex Ribeiro – bass (session)
Rolando Barros – drums (session)

Album Review – Beyond Carnage / Profane Sounds Of The Flesh EP (2018)

Aiming at creating a heavy and apocalyptic noise, with their old school Death Metal inspirations generating a filthy and powerful landscape, here comes a promising Portuguese horde crushing us all with their pulverizing debut opus.

Founded in the year of 2015 in the Portuguese capital Lisbon under the name Extreme Carnage, the pulverizing Death Metal five-piece horde known as Beyond Carnage has just released their debut opus, a five-track EP entitled Profane Sounds Of The Flesh, conceived with the aim to create a heavy and apocalyptic noise, with their old school Death Metal inspirations generating a filthy and powerful landscape. Having two of its tracks strongly inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft as well as European pagan legends, while the rest of the EP relies on an apocalyptic vision with a blackened atmosphere trapped in a paradox of organized chaos, Profane Sounds Of The Flesh is an amazingly aggressive welcome card by Beyond Carnage, accrediting the band as one of the most interesting new names of the Portuguese extreme music scene.

And the band comprised of vocalist João Colosso, guitarists Luís Correia and João Amado, bassist Inês Coelho and drummer Luis Abreu waste no time in their quest for Death Metal, as it’s time for total devastation with this talented Portuguese act to the sound of the opening track Infectious Parasitic Fungal God, with João Colosso almost vomiting the lyrics with his cavernous growls, while the band’s guitar duo will crush your spine with their demented riffs, bringing pure old school Death Metal for your avid ears. Then in the mid-tempo, demonic tune titled Necro Wizard, simply break your goddamn neck to the sluggish beats by Luis and the heavy and scorching guitar riffs, with Inês adding her personal dosage of obscurity to the music with her low-tuned bass.

And the band offers more of their straightforward Death Metal in Curse Of The Burning Rain, pounding their instruments like creatures of the dark, with the deep growls by João Colosso becoming as devilish as they can be, urging us all to slam into the pit to the sonic havoc blasted by the entire band. After such demented level of destruction, we have the even more disturbing Prophecy From A World Beyond, inspired by classic Death Metal the likes of Unleashed and Six Feet Under, with the band’s stringed trio Luis, João Amado and Inês giving a lesson in violence and gore, sounding raw and aggressive just the way we like it (not to mention João Colosso’s vile and putrid roars). And closing the album we have more of the band’s reverberating Death Metal with the song R´lyeh, Mother Of All Abominations, another killer metal feast where Luis showcases an amazing performance on drums, alternating between more rhythmic, potent beats and faster passages.

As previously mentioned, Profane Sounds Of The Flesh, available for a full listen on YouTube or on Spotify, has all the elements needed to turn it into a mandatory listen for fans of underground Death Metal, being an exciting sample of what we can expect from Bayond Carnage in the near future. In order to show those Portuguese metallers your support, go check what they’re up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and obviously purchase Profane Sounds Of The Flesh directly from their BandCamp page, as well as from the Firecum Records’ webshop or from Discogs. In the end, you’ll feel disoriented and completely smashed after listening to the 25 minutes of brutality blasted by Beyond Carnage throughout the album, exactly what your metal soul was craving, as that’s what good Death Metal is all about.

Best moments of the album: Curse Of The Burning Rain and Prophecy From A World Beyond.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Firecum Records

Track listing 
1. Infectious Parasitic Fungal God 5:18
2. Necro Wizard 4:40
3. Curse Of The Burning Rain 5:07
4. Prophecy From A World Beyond 3:41
5. R´lyeh, Mother Of All Abominations 7:02

Band members
João Colosso – vocals
Luís Correia – guitars
João Amado – guitars
Inês Coelho – bass
Luis Abreu – drums

Album Review – Moonspell / 1755 (2017)

An orchestral and emotional concept album sang completely in Portuguese that will take you to the year of the horror when a giant earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon.

The year of 1755 marks the year of the horror when a giant earthquake destroyed the city of Lisbon, when almost 100 thousand souls lost their lives, and this tragic event is still considered one of the most disastrous catastrophes in European history and nature. Now in 2017, in remembrance of the victims and the band’s hometown, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake was turned into a vicious, rip-roaring concept album straightforwardly titled 1755, the twelfth full-length studio release by Portuguese Dark Metal masters Moonspell, an orchestral and emotional adventure sang completely in Portuguese (which gives the whole album an additional poetic touch) that will transport your mind and soul to November 1, 1755, the holy day of All Saints’ Day and the day that the earth shook like never before in Lisbon.

There are a few remarkable differences between 1755 and Moonspell’s latest releases such as Night Eternal, Alpha Noir/Omega White and especially Extinct, as the band “distanced” themselves a little from the more Gothic and melodic approach from the past decade to venture through the realms of symphonic and epic sounds, and the final result couldn’t be more breathtaking. Featuring a lavish artwork by Portuguese artist João Diogo (Dramafall), 1755 might not be an easy listen at first for newcomers to the world of Moonspell or even to longtime fans of the band who don’t know a single word in Portuguese, but the final result is so compelling, sharp and cohesive I’m sure the whole album will grow on you until it becomes a mandatory part of your day-to-day playlist.

When I first saw the tracklist for 1755 I asked myself why they added one of their old songs as the opening track of the album, but after hitting play everything made sense. Em Nome Do Medo (or “in the name of fear”) is an obscure, haunting and absolutely awesome orchestral version for their biggest classic sung in Portuguese, from their 2012 album Alpha Noir/Omega White (take a listen at the original version HERE), with highlights to the superb job done by guest musician Jon Phipps (who actually created the orchestrations for the whole album) and the insanely beautiful choir (comprised of the amazing Crystal Mountain Singers and Tristania’s own Mariangela Dermutas) that accompanies frontman Fernando Ribeiro and his piercing vocals, and that epic aura of darkness goes on in the title-track 1755, where keyboardist Pedro Paixão delivers as usual some insane keys that complement the guitar sounds flawlessly. And what to say about Ricardo Amorim’s souful guitar solo? Put differently, I simply can’t wait to witness Moonspell playing this metallic opera live. And leaning towards a more metallic, rockin’ vein we have the threatening In Tremor Dei (or “fear Of God”), presenting the band’s characteristic Dark Metal with Fernando being beautifully supported by guest vocalist Paulo Bragança (who supplies the trenchant voice of a Fado fallen angel who is a big part of the Portuguese culture), with the song’s lyrics perfectly depicting the fire, wreckage, despair and death that took over Lisbon that day.

Desastre (the Portuguese word for “disaster”) gets closer to what the band did in Night Eternal, with Fernando’s growls sounding deeper and more enraged as he screams the word “culpado” (or “guilty” in English) with all his fury. Furthermore, the beats by drummer Miguel Gaspar will hit you hard inside your mind, showing how acute the entire album is. Then orchestral elements shine in another great display of Dark Metal blended with classical music titled Abanão (which means “quake” or “shakeup”), where Pedro once again boosts the song’s epicness with his keyboards while Miguel and bassist Aires Pereira live up to the song’s name with their rumbling beats and bass punches, respectively; followed by Evento (or “event”), where Moonspell keep blending their own sonority from Night Eternal with Memorial and more intense elements from orchestral music, not to mention how its lyrics showcase the thin line between love and hate people experience with religion. It’s another one of the top moments of the album, and needless to say it should also sound fantastic if played live. And 1 De Novembro (or “1st of November”), in reference to the day the earthquake happened, brings forward a more contemporary version of Moonspell where Fernando’s voice sounds considerably different than usual and where tons of heaviness and epicness arise due to the excellent job done by Pedro and Miguel on keys and drums.

1755 Deluxe Box

Then infused with modern Gothic and Dark Metal similar to what they did in the darkest and most melancholic tracks of Alpha Noir/Omega White, but with an epic twist, Ruínas (or “ruins”) displays an 80’s-inspired rhythm where the bass lines by Aires sound ominous, with its lyrics passionately declaimed by Fernando transmitting a true sense of hopelessness, setting the tone for Todos Os Santos (or “all saints”), one of the strongest tracks of the album and the musical depiction of the eternal war between men and God. Its thrilling guitars combined with the powerful vocals by Fernando and its thunderous backing vocals result in top-notch Moonspell music, also presenting a catchy-as-hell chorus (even if you don’t know anything in Potuguese) in a beyond perfect closing to such sad and important event in the history of Portugal. As a matter of fact, there’s still one more song in the regular version of the album, their cover version for Brazilian rock band Os Paralamas do Sucesso’s hit Lanterna Dos Afogados (listen to the original song HERE), feeling more like a “bonus” than a regular track and sounding very somber, melancholic and touching, with Fernando giving a lesson in dark vocals. Moreover, if you go with any of the special editions of 1755, you’ll also be treated to the Spanish version of Desastre, which according to Moonspell themselves is a homage to all their Spanish-speaking fans around the world, as in the late 18th century a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese was spoken in the streets of Lisbon.

What Moonspell did in 1755, turning all devastation, death and grief from the 1755 Lisbon earthquake into first-class art, is not only terrific musically speaking, but it also proves that the human being is capable of finding beauty even in the most adverse moments, and I guess that’s some sort of subliminal message the band wanted to send us all with this excellent album. With that said, go grab your favorite version of 1755 at the Napalm Records webshop, or at the band’s own BandCamp page or official European webstore, and learn more about one of the saddest and most terrifying day in the history of Portugal. 1755 might be known as the year of the horror, as the year when God abandoned the people of Lisbon, but at least we have Moonspell to properly tell that grim story to us all and to soothe our hearts and souls forevermore with their undisputed Dark Metal.

Best moments of the album: 1755, In Tremor Dei, Evento and Todos Os Santos.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Em Nome Do Medo 5:32
2. 1755 5:12
3. In Tremor Dei 4:26
4. Desastre 3:22
5. Abanão 4:08
6. Evento 4:43
7. 1 De Novembro 3:53
8. Ruínas 4:45
9. Todos Os Santos 5:10
10. Lanterna Dos Afogados (Os Paralamas do Sucesso cover) 6:30

Deluxe Box/Digipak/Limited Edition/Japanese Edition bonus track
11. Desastre (Spanish Version) 3:36

Band members
Fernando Ribeiro – vocals
Ricardo Amorim – guitars
Pedro Paixão – keyboards, guitars
Aires Pereira – bass
Miguel Gaspar – drums

Guest musicians
Jon Phipps – orchestrations
Paulo Bragança – vocals on “In Tremor Dei”
Martin Lopez – darbuka in “1755”
Crystal Mountain Singers (Carmen Simões, Alexandra Bernardo, Silvia Guerreiro) and Mariangela Dermutas – choirs

Album Review – Viles Vitae / IV EP (2017)

The four basic elemental principles from ritual magic converted into four powerful and tempestuous compositions by a new horde of experienced Portuguese black metallers.

Rating5

frontcover_vilesvitaeThere’s a new entity arising from the underworld of Portuguese Black Metal that goes by the name of Viles Vitae, or “worthless life” from Latin, who are unleashing upon humanity their debut EP simply titled IV, offering fans of extreme music the four basic elemental principles still used in ritual magic converted into four powerful and tempestuous compositions. Four elements, four songs, or as stated by the band, “a crescendo of feelings and cyclical repetitions to elevate thy souls of the dead straight to the heart of the listener.”

Although the band was brought into being only in 2015 in the capital city of Lisbon, Portugal, Viles Vitae are no beginners at all. Featuring experienced and known members of the underground Portuguese scene, this sinful power trio delivers in IV exactly what they wanted to expose, which is the primary spirit of Black Metal crafted from the heart. After facing the somber album art designed by Fábio Infante, you’ll already feel death and darkness growing inside you, but it’s when the music starts that you’ll finally understand how Stygian and complex the creations by Viles Vitae are.

The first track of the EP, The Vortex of Disharmony, begins is an atmospheric way, with background noises taking us to a desolate world before the guitar sounds by Belial Necro slowly impregnate the air together with the bestial drumming by Deimos. Moreover, this macabre and devilish fusion of Blackened Doom and Black Metal is definitely not recommended for the lighthearted, with Vulturius gnarling in the most hellish form possible. Leaning towards a more traditional Black Metal sounding, Sunless Redeemer brings forward demonic and steady blast beats that end up developing the desired ambience for the demon-like vociferations by Vulturius, turning the overall result into a dark hymn of extreme music that brings absolutely no hope to our hearts.

viles-vitae-25Highly influenced by obscure Doom Metal, Source Life Extinction presents a funereal vibe and a menacing musicality, with Belial Necro making sure his riffs sound as vile as possible. This sensational composition by Viles Vitae is not only very impactful and heavier than hell, but also the perfect example of what this demonic horde can offer us all in their future releases. The fourth and last song of the EP, named Theory of Deconstruction, is their most complex and multilayered creation, where Vulturius continues to blast his harsh growls while Deimos gets more blackened than ever on drums. Furthermore, transpiring blasphemy and hatred, the song’s howling wolves and background choir will hypnotize you for the last four minutes of this aria of darkness and despair.

The four basic elemental principles from ritual magic explored by Viles Vitae are available for purchase at the Caverna Abismal Records’ BandCamp page, and soon through their webshop as well. And in case you’re fond of the most obscure side of extreme music just like what is crafted by this amazing horde from Portugal, go check their Facebook page for more details and news about their current work, tour dates and future plans. After the spawn of the ominous IV, I wonder what type of malignancy the talented Vulturius, Belial Necro and Deimos are preparing as the next step in their career and, while we wait for it, the potent music from IV can keep us more than entertained without a shadow of a doubt.

Best moments of the album: Source Life Extinction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Caverna Abismal Records

Track listing
1. The Vortex of Disharmony 5:30
2. Sunless Redeemer 5:50
3. Source Life Extinction 6:15
4. Theory of Deconstruction 12:28

Band members
Vulturius – vocals
Belial Necro – guitars
Deimos – drums