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 – Benthik Zone / εἴδωλον (2022)

A celebration of the beauty of metamorphosis and hybridism in the form of first-class Atmospheric Black Metal made in Portugal.

Hailing from Porto, a coastal city in northwest Portugal, the Atmospheric Black Metal duo Benthik Zone is back with more of their fusion of experimental, atmospheric and progressive sounds with their third full-length opus, entitled εἴδωλον, which is Greek for “eidolon”. Establishing a parallel between classical antiquity and contemporaneity by creating a poetic dialogue with various myths, stories speaking about fabulous creatures, humans and gods, the album celebrates the beauty of metamorphosis and hybridism, which goes from the human being to the vegetal and animal life but carries the weight of that transition process and its consequences in the bodies of the “εἴδωλον” characters. “Beyond this interesting convergence between the term εἴδωλον and the culmination of the myth (Actaeon) from which we were inspired, it was perceived that in general terms the meaning of particular interest to us, in the context of this album, was that of a spectre, ghost, that has been vexing us at every stage of our work,” commented the duo formed of vocalist A. Leão and multi-instrumentalist F. Braga, who together with guest G. Correia are offering us all an even more elaborate, twisted and expansive concept album of Atmospheric Black Metal that keeps their sound evolving in myriad mysterious and compelling ways.

The disruptive, atmospheric intro Atravesso o Portal Mítico (“I go through the mythical portal”) will drag you to the unique world of Benthik Zone, setting the stage for E Embriagado pelo Reflexo (“and intoxicated by the reflection”), an Extra-Terrestrial Atmospheric Black Metal journey spearheaded by the strident riffage by F. Braga while A. Leão fires hellish gnarls from start to finish, presenting the most primeval elements of old school Black Metal until everything fades into an acoustic, naturalistic passage halfway through it, again exploding into a sea of obscurity and experimentations for our vulgar delectation. After such demolishing start to the album we’re treated to Sonho-a Desnuda (“I dream of her naked”), another eerie, ethereal creation by the duo that starts in an mesmerizing manner, and that Stygian ambience goes on for over three minutes until crushing beats and disruptive sounds invade our ears in a lesson in Experimental Black Metal.

A. Correia and F. Braga generate a beyond captivating ambience with their instruments in Na Iluminação do Presente (“in the lighting of the present”), all spiced up by the cryptic vocalizations by A. Leão in an insane and pulverizing display of Atmospheric Black Metal, flowing into the cinematic interlude Qual Espectro (“which spectrum”), which will pierce our minds before we face Da Zona Perdida no Tempo (“from the zone lost in time”), an explosion of the duo’s blackened sounds exhaling creativity and darkness while exploring new sounds. Furthermore, G. Correia adds his share of lunacy to the music with his wicked instruments, resulting in a sonic attack without a single second of peace. Lastly, closing the album it’s time for 11 minutes of primeval and obscure sounds in Imenso Abismo do Reino Submerso (“immense abyss of the sunken kingdom”), where tribal, esoteric beats are intertwined with eccentric instruments such as the didgeridoo, generating a hypnotizing, idiosyncratic Atmospheric Black Metal experience not recommended for the lighthearted while also ending in an absolute Stygian fashion.

If you have what it takes to face the 47 minutes of experimentations, progressiveness and obscurity brought into being by Benthik Zone in the form of εἴδωλον, you can enjoy the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and also start following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates. However, above all that, in order to show your true support and admiration for those Portuguese metallers you should definitely purchase a copy of their newborn beast from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Onism Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore, from Apple Music, or from Amazon. As already mentioned, the album celebrates the beauty of metamorphosis and hybridism, and there’s nothing more appropriate than the Atmospheric Black Metal by Benthik Zone to properly showcase all that beauty in darkness and chaos.

Best moments of the album: E Embriagado pelo Reflexo and Imenso Abismo do Reino Submerso.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Onism Productions

Track listing
1. Atravesso o Portal Mítico 2:01
2. E Embriagado pelo Reflexo 8:28
3. Sonho-a Desnuda 8:10
4. Na Iluminação do Presente 7:59
5. Qual Espectro 1:53
6. Da Zona Perdida no Tempo 7:28
7. Imenso Abismo do Reino Submerso 11:27

Band members
A. Leão – vocals, didgeridoo
F. Braga – guitars, bass, drum programming, backing vocals

Guest Musician
G. Correia – transverse flute, berimbau, hangpan, flute

Album Review – Nihility / Beyond Human Concepts (2022)

Exploring the definition of nihilism as a philosophy and a way of life, this ruthless Portuguese horde will darken your mind with the Blackened Death Metal found in their sophomore opus.

Forged in the fires of Paços de Ferreira, a city in the Porto District in the north of Portugal, in 2012, Nihility are a four-piece Blackened Death Metal band heavily influenced by the roots of Death and Black Metal, exploring the definition of nihilism as a philosophy and a way of life, passing through the many different ways of nihilism, how it’s understood and adjusts to everyday life and society as a whole. Following their 2019 debut opus Thus Spoke The Antichrist, the band comprised of Mário Ferreira on vocals, Renato Barbosa on the guitars, Miguel Seewald on bass and Luís Moreira on drums has just released their sophomore effort, entitled Beyond Human Concepts, a top-notch album that hopefully will catapult these Portuguese youngsters into the forefront of the European Death Metal scene. Produced, mixed and mastered by Pedro Mendes at Ultrasound Studios Braga, and displaying a Stygian artwork by Credo Quia Absurdum, Beyond Human Concepts is an album of sheer brutality that will please fans of bands the likes of Behemoth, Vader, Morbid Angel, Decapitated and Vomitory, among others, representing an infernal step forward in the band’s career.

Renato ignites the band’s devilish machine with his riffage in the opening tune Martydom for the Herd, being gradually accompanied by Miguel’s bass and Luís’ drums in an infernal display of Black and Death Metal. And Mário continues to vociferate like a demonic entity in Hubris, with Luís crushing his drums in great fashion. Put differently, it’s a fulminating fusion of Blackened Death Metal with D-Beat Crust elements, whereas Destroy the Shackles of Prejudice is even more devastating than its predecessors, with Renato being on fire with his wicked riffs supported by the kitchen from hell by Miguel and Luís, not to mention how evil Mário sounds once again on vocals. Then after such high level of destruction get ready for two and a half minutes of insanity in the form of extreme music in Human Stupidity, a song that’s absolutely perfect for slamming into the pit while Mário vomits the song’s putrid words.

Conflicting Vanities is ideal for banging your head like a true metal maniac thanks to the visceral beats by Luís in another brutal display of Blackened Death Metal by the quartet that lives up to the legacy of the genre, and there’s no time to breathe as those Portuguese metallers keep delivering sheer dementia and obscurity in Will to Power, with Luís stealing the spotlight with his venomous drums. The Religious Dogma is another demented explosion of Blackened Death Metal made in Portugal where Mário roars and barks rabidly, accompanied by the slashing and rumbling sounds blasted by the band’s stringed duo, whereas the title-track Beyond Human Concepts brings to our avid ears an extreme music extravaganza where all band members showcase their dexterity and passion for heavy music, keeping the album blazing brightly. And last but not least, it’s time for Sea of Thoughts, a sinister outro that puts a proper end to the album (albeit not as vile as the other songs).

You can enjoy such devilish album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow Nihility on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and above all that, grab your copy of Beyond Human Concepts from the band’s own BandCamp page, and from the Vicious Instinct Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (or click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream the album). In other words, go numb and let your mind go black, let your soul be engulfed and captured by the void, then let this be the vessel for all your pent-up aggression and rage, for this is Nihility and this is the void.

Best moments of the album: Destroy the Shackles of Prejudice, Human Stupidity and The Religious Dogma.

Worst moments of the album: Sea of Thoughts.

Released in 2022 Vicious Instinct Records

Track listing
1. Martydom for the Herd 3:28
2. Hubris 3:04
3. Destroy the Shackles of Prejudice 3:25
4. Human Stupidity 2:28
5. Conflicting Vanities 4:16
6. Will to Power 2:40
7. The Religious Dogma 3:21
8. Beyond Human Concepts 4:33
9. Sea of Thoughts 2:10

Band members
Mário Ferreira – vocals
Renato Barbosa – guitars, backing vocals
Miguel Seewald – bass
Luís Moreira – drums

Album Review – Colosso / Apocalypse EP (2020)

Pestilence, War, Death and Famine masterfully turned into brutal and obscure Death Metal by a heavier-than-hell unity hailing from Portugal.

What if a vicious horde hailing from Portugal decided to turn the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos, into gruesome and raw Death Metal? That’s exactly what a project formed in 2011, currently comprised of Max Tomé on guitars, keyboards and vocals, Alexandre Ribeiro (Grog) on bass and Robin Stone (Norse) on drums, collectively known as Porto, Portugal-based Death Metal unity Colosso, has to offer us all in their brand new EP simply titled Apocalypse, translating into modern and sharp Death Metal all the darkness flowing from the four riders Pestilence, War, Famine and Death.

After years of toiling in the underground, putting out six releases of ever-evolving Death Metal such as their debut full-length opus Peaceful Abrasiveness, in 2012, and more recently Rebirth, in 2018, Colosso seem to have reached their most demonic shape and form in Apocalypse, being highly recommended for fans of the music by Norse, Morbid Angel, Nile, Incantation and Suffocation, among other behemoths of extreme music. Mixed and mastered by Max Tomé himself, and featuring a beyond obscure album art by Phlegeton Art Studio, as well as guest vocals by Guilherme Henriques of Oak and Gaerea, Diogo Santana of Analepsy, and Sérgio Afonso of Bleeding Display, Apocalypse is an undoubtedly breathtaking and refreshingly diverse album, showcasing the myriad aspects of this bold and innovative Death Metal band without compromising on their aggressive, apocalyptic sound.

And pestilence and plague permeate the air in the vicious and heavy-as-hell Pestilence, blending the violence of Death Metal with the grim and infernal sounds of Blackened Doom while guest vocalist Guilherme Henriques barks and roars like a creature from the netherworld. Not only that, Robin smashes his drums mercilessly nonstop, with that disturbing and evil onrush of sounds going on and on until the song’s visceral ending. Then guest Sérgio Afonso lends his guttural vocals to Colosso in the also Stygian tune War, with the sounds of machine guns and explosions making the whole song even more realistic, leaning towards classic Death Metal. Moreover, Alexandre’s bass jabs and Robin’s beats feel like the epitome of evil, resulting in a pulverizing display of extreme music for lovers of the genre.

Max himself is responsible for the vocal duties in Death, a lot more melodic and crisper than its predecessors while still providing the band’s characteristic rawness and darkness. Furthermore, Max is spot-on with his razor-edged riffs accompanied by Robin’s intricate drums and, as a surprise, Max fires clean, ethereal vocals instead of the album’s characteristic putrid gnarls, bringing elements from Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal to Colosso’s core savagery. And last but not least, Diogo Santana provides his share of deep guttural roars to Famine, where the band gets back to their most demented and hellish mode, showcasing all band members in total sync led by Max’s strident riffs, while Robin sounds like a stone crusher on drums and, as a consequence, flirting with Brutal Death Metal at times.

In summary, if you’re an admirer of the meanest and heaviest side of Death Metal you must give these Portuguese metallers a very good try as Max and his henchmen have all it takes to explode your mind and darken your soul with their brand new installment Apocalypse, which by the way will soon be available from the band’s own BandCamp page and from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in distinct formats such as the awesome T-shirt + CD + Digital Download bundle. Also, don’t forget to show your support to Colosso by following them on Facebook and by listening to more of their somber creations on Spotify. As the four dreadful figures in the Book of Revelation who symbolize the evils to come at the end of the world get closer and closer to us, there’s nothing better than the avalanche of Death Metal roars crafted by Colosso to provide them a warm and friendly welcome, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: War and Famine.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Pestilence 8:14
2. War 4:07
3. Death 4:11
4. Famine 4:14

Band members
Max Tomé – guitars, keyboards, vocals on “Death”
Alexandre Ribeiro – bass
Robin Stone – drums

Guest musicians
Guilherme Henriques – vocals on “Pestilence”
Sérgio Afonso – vocals on “War”
Diogo Santana – vocals on “Famine”