Album Review – Holocausto Canibal / Crueza Ferina (2022)

The legendary Portuguese purveyors of extremity celebrate 25 years of existence with a new opus featuring 19 tracks of flesh rending Brutal Death Metal and skin flaying Grindcore.

Featuring 19 tracks of flesh rending Brutal Death Metal and skin flaying Grindcore, Crueza Ferina, meaning “ferocious cruelty”, is the sixth full-length album from legendary Portuguese purveyors of extremity, pioneers of brutality, Porto-based horde Holocausto Canibal, highly recommended for fans of Haemorrhage, Nasum, Lay Down Rotten and Cliteater, among others. Utterly unstoppable and completely irresistible, Crueza Ferina was produced and engineered by João Ribeiro and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Mastering Studio, sounding absolutely devastating from start to finish while adorned in the shocking image of a dead pig killed in a barbaric ritual of traditional slaughter. Far from their sadistic imaginations turning to the torture of animals though, vocalist Orca, guitarist António C., bassist Z. Pedro and drummer Diogo P. have embraced a vegan philosophy, with Z. Pedro telling Loud Magazine in a recent interview that “for us, the only blood we continue to accept to see is human”.

Over one minute of an infernal screeching pig ignites the opening tune Ad Bizarrem Morem before the band begins hammering their instruments in such demented intro, setting the tone for Êxodo Mortuoso, or “deadly exodus”, featuring guest guitars by Robert Vigna of Immolation, a lecture in Brutal Slammin’ Death Metal led by the inhumane gnarls by Orca and the razor-edged riffs by António. Epicédio Madrigaz (“madrigaz epic”) is as pulverizing as its predecessor where Diogo sounds bestial behind his drums, offering Orca exactly what he needs to crush our souls with his deep guttural, whereas Sinaxe do Sepúlcro Tafófobo (“synax of the taphophobic sepulcher”) lives up to the legacy of old school Grindcore with a D-Beat Crust touch, showcasing a sensational performance by António with his incendiary axe. Then drinking from the same fountain as Cannibal Corpse in their early days, Z. Pedro blasts his bass manically making the earth tremble together with Diogo’s massive beats in Ancestrais Ritos Hipóxicos (“ancestrals hypoxic rites”), and it’s time to slam into the circle pit in the name of Grindcore to the sound of Apresto Executório (“executive preparatory”), with António once again slashing our ears with his riffage. Diogo takes the lead one more time in the venomous Aniquilação Suídea (“swine annihilation”), sounding absolutely heavy and devastating from start to finish while spiced up by Orca’s visceral growling, followed by Ávida Tragação (“avid gulp”), keeping the album at a high level of dementia and gore and being perfect for breaking your neck headbanging like a true beast. And Congregação da Flama Felídea (“congregation of the felid flame’) is yet another fast and furious creation by Holocausto Canibal where Diogo sounds utterly possessed behind his drums accompanied by the ass-kicking guitars by António.

Psicótico Interlúdio (“psychotic interlude”) is an instrumental bridge that provides Orca with a break before he comes back ripping in Anátemas Nefandos (“nefarious anathemas”), bringing forward less than 40 seconds that will certainly crush your cranial skull so heavy and frantic it is; while Esquartejado em Segundos (“quartered in seconds”) is even shorter and more brutal than the previous songs with its 25 seconds of sheer savagery. In Prenúncios da Vingança Cavicórnea (“harbingers of cavernous revenge”) the band is back to their streak of “longer” songs, with Diogo’s blast beats hitting you in the head mercilessly, and there’s no time to breathe as the band continues their sonic devastation in Suprema Dominância Taurina (“supreme taurine dominance”), with António, Z. Pedro and Diogo being in a beyond blackened sync while the song’s ending sounds like the soundtrack to a gore flick. The band darken the skies with the truculent Campas do Negro Breu (“pitch black graves”), offering us all Brutal Death Metal at its finest spearheaded by the flammable riffage by António while Orca keeps vociferating the song’s evil words like there’s no tomorrow; and Girândolas da Agonia Profunda (“whirlwinds of deep agony”) is as deranged and heavy as it can be, showcasing another round of sheer brutality blasted by Z. Pedro and Diogo with their demonic kitchen, followed by Miasmas Onanizantes (“onanizing miasmas”), another song that lasts for less than a minute but that is enough for Holocausto Canibal to smash us all with their infuriated sounds. António leads his bandmates with his metallic riffs in Quérulo dos Finados (“kerulus of the dead”), a song that will certainly leave you completely disoriented after all is said and done, and the venomous bass jabs by Z. Pedro dictate the rhythm in the closing tune Sortilégio da Perversão (“perversion spell”), less puissant than the rest of the album but still brutal and grim.

If you think you have what it takes to face the brutality, heaviness and grind blasted by Holocausto Canibal throughout their hellish new album, you can purchase it from the Selfmadegod Records’ BandCamp or webstore as a regular CD or as a CD + shirt bundle, adding an extra touch of violence and gore to your personal collection. Hence, don’t forget to also follow those Portuguese butchers on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know info about their career and their music, and to stream all of their wicked creations on YouTube and on Spotify. Put differently, brace yourselves for impact and let’s celebrate 25 years of utter extremity with Holocausto Canibal to the sound of their visceral new album, as the band remains as unflinching and uncompromising as ever.

Best moments of the album: Êxodo Mortuoso, Aniquilação Suídea, Congregação da Flama Felídea and Campas do Negro Breu.

Worst moments of the album: Psicótico Interlúdio and Sortilégio da Perversão.

Released in 2022 Selfmadegod Records

Track listing
1. Ad Bizarrem Morem 2:42
2. Êxodo Mortuoso 2:13
3. Epicédio Madrigaz 1:27
4. Sinaxe do Sepúlcro Tafófobo 2:23
5. Ancestrais Ritos Hipóxicos 0:57
6. Apresto Executório 1:11
7. Aniquilação Suídea 3:10
8. Ávida Tragação 1:26
9. Congregação da Flama Felídea 1:25
10. Psicótico Interlúdio 2:00
11. Anátemas Nefandos 0:38
12. Esquartejado em Segundos 0:25
13. Prenúncios da Vingança Cavicórnea 1:21
14. Suprema Dominância Taurina 1:35
15. Campas do Negro Breu 3:14
16. Girândolas da Agonia Profunda 1:14
17. Miasmas Onanizantes 0:51
18. Quérulo dos Finados 1:49
19. Sortilégio da Perversão 3:30

Band members
Orca – vocals
António C. – guitar
Z. Pedro – bass
Diogo P. – drums

Guest musician
Robert Vigna – guitars on “Êxodo Mortuoso”

Album Review – Crystal Spiders / Molt (2020)

Bang your heads to the debut album by this amazing American duo of doom, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals.

It didn’t take long for Raleigh, North Carolina’s own Hard Rock/Doom Metal unity Crystal Spiders to draw attention to their crushing fusion of heavy and groovy styles after their inception in 2018. Comprised of Brenna Leath (of Lightning Born) on vocals and bass and drummer Tradd Yancey, with the support of session guitarist Mike Deloatch and guest guitarist Mike Dean (of Corrosion of Conformity), who also produced the album, the band returns in full force in 2020 with their debut album Molt, following up on their highly acclaimed 2019 demo. Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Mastering Studio and featuring a stylish artwork by American tattoo artist Tyler Pennington, Molt showcases their deep devotion to riff-worship, dripping with fuzzed out riffs, thundering drums and dynamic, smoky vocals and, therefore, being highly recommended to fuzz-addicted legions from all four corner of the earth.

The low-tuned, creepy bass by Brenna kicks off the Stoner Rock and Metal feast titled Trapped, with Tradd smashing his drums powerfully while the song’s  obscure lyrics are darkly declaimed by Brenna (“There’s no one out here, just wild dogs and dust / Fill up the empty space with unholy sound and deathly grace / There’s something slithering away on a greasy belly / We’re trapped here in this place, drying up like old blood”), whereas the title-track Molt is a faster and more dynamic Rock N’ Roll party led by Tradd’s classic beats while Mike and Brenna slash their stringed weapons in great fashion, being perfect for banging your head nonstop while the band kicks ass on stage at a rock pub anywhere in the world. After such breathtaking tune we have Tigerlilly, one of the three songs from their 2019 demo, getting back to an old school, Black Sabbat-inspired Doom Metal mode, with Tradd being once again unstoppable on drums, providing Brenna all she needs to shine with her piercing vocals and dirty bass jabs. And eerie, minimalist sounds permeate the air in the grim Chronic Sick, where the sluggish beats by Tradd together with the acid riffage by Mike generate a neck-breaking ambience, with Brenna once again mesmerizing us all with her potent voice.

It’s time to speed things up once again and ride with Crystal Spiders on a highway to hell in C.U.N. Hell, where it’s impressive how devilish and sexy Brenna’s voice can sound at the same time, while Tradd dictates the pace with his wicked beats, followed by Gutter, another lecture in Stoner Rock and Doom Metal by the duo, with Brenna being on fire with both her high-pitched screams and metallic, fuzzy bass, taking us all on a journey back to the glory of the 70’s. Then let’s embark on another thunder-driven Rock N’ Roll journey together with Crystal Spiders in The Call, where Brenna, Tradd and Mike are on absolute sync, consequently making our blood boil in the name of the riff, not to mention the song’s addictive guitar solos. In the tribalistic, hypnotic tune entitled Headhunters the talented Brenna steals the spotlight with her witch-like vocal lines, setting the tone for Fog, featuring the aforementioned Mike Dean and his visceral riffs, a bestial, dark and delicious way to end such powerful album of doom. It’s slow and atmospheric from start to finish, with Brenna, Mike and Tradd building a damned wall of sounds with their respective sonic weapons, dragging us all into their foggy and somber lair before all is said and done.

If you want to experience Molt in its entirety you can enjoy the full album on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show Brenna and Tradd your honest support and admiration you should definitely purchase the album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Ripple Music’s BandCamp page or Big Cartel (in digipak CD or deluxe vinyl format), or simply click HERE to have access to all locations where you can buy or stream the excellent Molt. Hence, don’t forget to follow Crystal Spiders on Facebook and on Instagram, keeping the fires of underground doom burning bright for many years to come. The name of the album itself is already very suggestive and points to an amazing future for Crystal Spiders, as if the duo has just shed their old feathers, making their way to a new growth stage in their career, and based on the high quality of the music found in Molt it looks like not even the sky is the limit for their doomed wings.

Best moments of the album: Molt and C.U.N. Hell and The Call.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Ripple Music

Track listing
1. Trapped 5:09
2. Molt 3:37
3. Tigerlilly 5:38
4. Chronic Sick 6:49
5. C.U.N. Hell 4:09
6. Gutter 3:58
7. The Call 5:47
8. Headhunters 2:26
9. Fog 6:14

Band members
Brenna Leath – vocals, bass
Tradd Yancey – drums, vocals

Guest musician
Mike Deloatch – guitars (session)
Mike Dean – guitars on “Fog”