Album Review – Verthebral / Abysmal Decay (2019)

The abysmal decay of mankind and religion through the eyes of a ruthless Paraguayan Death Metal horde.

Formed in 2013 in Ciudad del Este, a city on the Paraná River in Paraguay, South American Death Metal unity Verthebral is a reminder of the potency of Death Metal coming from their continent, blasting our ears with their ruthless creations without a single drop of mercy. From the traditionally-rooted riffing to the relentless percussive hammering with savage and barked out vocals, Verthebral execute with utter savagery and precision each and every track form their newborn opus Abysmal Decay, tempering it with unpredictable tempo changes and whiplashing breakdowns, proving this is not just mindless brutality, but a well thought out extreme album that must not be taken lightly, being highly recommended for fans of hellish acts like Krisun, Rebaelliun, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Slayer, Death, Sarcófago, Malevolent Creation and Hate Eternal, among others.

Featuring a classic and absolutely incendiary artwork by Brazilian artist Marcos Miller (who has already worked with bands like Exterminate and Mental Horror), and layout by Finnish artist Turkka G. Rantanen (Paganizer, Demilich), Abysmal Decay is a natural and exciting follow-up to their 2017 demolishing album Regeneration, once again dealing with several controversial topics like anti-religion, philosophy, human conduct and death, all embraced by a violent and very detailed sonority brought forth by Christian Rojas on vocals and bass, Daniel Larroza and Alberto Flores on the guitars, and Denis Viveros on drums. Put differently, after you start listening to Abysmal Decay, you’ll undoubtedly feel your head, mind and ears tremble, exactly the way we all love in old school Death Metal.

Get ready to be smashed form the very first second in the opening track Ancient Legion, highly inspired by bands like Krisiun and Cannibal Corpse and with Christian delivering his trademark growling attack supported by the demented drums by Denis, sounding solid and pulverizing form start to finish. The quartet keeps hammering our heads in The Art of Perversion, a rhythmic, multi-layered Death Metal extravaganza led by the razor-edged riffs by Daniel and Alberto that will certainly inspire you to crack your skull into the circle pit, not to mention its amazing sinister break halfway through it; followed by the title-track Abysmal Decay, another brutal display of Death Metal slightly slower than its predecessors but heavy-as-hell, with the band’s guitar duo not only slashing our ears with their riffs but also with their crisp solos, resulting in a perfect choice for banging your head like a maniac.

Then it’s time for an absolutely demolishing display of extreme music by this talented band entitled Isolation Room, alternating between frantic moments and sheer brutality and heaviness where Christian continues to roar and bark like a true beast, elevating the overall quality of the album even more. Coronation of Envy already begins in full force, inspiring us all to slam into the pit like berserk metalheads, with Denis being unstoppable on drums and consequently building a thunderous stage for Daniel and Alberto to shine with their strident guitar solos, whereas in Absence of a God we face almost five minutes of crushing Death Metal made in Paraguay. It’s quite impressive how they never get tired of delivering the most rumbling and disruptive sounds possible, with the music living up to the legacy of bands like Deicide, Krisiun and Death.

Christian leads his horde with his deep, enraged gnarls in Sweet Home Illusion, a classy Death Metal onrush featuring demonic and intricate blast beats and metallic bass punches while Daniel and Alberto keep firing scorching sounds from their stringed weapons, before the instrumental bridge Obsidian Tears enhances our senses for the pulverizing My Dark Existence, a mid-tempo, disturbing chant led by the band’s infernal guitarists where Danis sounds like a sledgehammer on drums, feeling dense and obscure from start to finish (albeit not as creative as all previous songs). And closing the album the band adds tons of progressiveness to their evil music in Testimony of Hate, piercing our minds and ears with their visceral riffs and deranged growls, with the sounds from all instruments growing in intensity and rage until the song’s climatic and vile ending.

If you consider yourself a diehard Death Metal fan and true supporter of the underground, don’t forget to get in touch with the guys from Verthebral on Facebook, and to purchase your copy of Abysmal Decay from the band’s own BandCamp page, or from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in digipak CD format, in a digipak CD and T-shirt combo, or in an outstanding CD box set including an 8-panel digipak CD with metallic effect, an autographed card, an album artwork coaster, an album artwork fridge magnet, a gloss finish badge and a silver logo patch. Having said all that, I’m beyond happy to witness the healthy and vibrant rise of South American Death Metal in the past few years, with bands like Verthebral proudly waving the flag of Paraguayan extreme music everywhere they go through their destructive, heavy and anti-religious creations, or in other words, everything we love (and want) in our good old Death Metal.

Best moments of the album: The Art of Perversion, Isolation Room and Sweet Home Illusion.

Worst moments of the album: My Dark Existence.

Released in 2019 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Ancient Legion 3:38
2. The Art of Perversion 4:44
3. Abysmal Decay 4:26
4. Isolation Room 4:17
5. Coronation of Envy 3:39
6. Absence of a God 4:52
7. Sweet Home Illusion 5:33
8. Obsidian Tears 1:19
9. My Dark Existence 4:32
10. Testimony of Hate 4:25

Band members
Christian Rojas – vocals, bass
Daniel Larroza – guitars
Alberto Flores – guitars
Denis Viveros – drums

Album Review – Galvanizer / Sanguine Vigil (2018)

A violent and frantic album by three Finnish metallers who know exactly how to blend classic Scandinavian Death Metal with the more modern sound of Deathgrind.

From the swamping lands of Finland, old school Death Metal/Grindcore unity Galvanizer emerges with their debut full-length album Sanguine Vigil, after having paid all their dues like we were used back in the 90’s with several demo tapes and a 7″ EP titled Horrid Tales of Death…, released in 2015. Fans of bands like Machetazo, Abhorrence and Haemorrhage will have a good time listening to the ten pulverizing tracks featured in Sanguine Vigil, being recommended for admirers of both classic Finnish Death Metal and the more modern Deathgrind sound found in the scene nowadays.

Formed in 2015 as a one-man project, this Laitila-Tammela-based act quickly turned into a power trio, comprised of Vili Mäkinen on vocals and bass, Aleksi Vähämäki on guitars and backing vocals, and Nico Niemikko on drums, becoming one of the most promising underground bands in Finland due to their old school approach and their youthful energy. Featuring a gory cover art painted by Turkka G. Rantanen, a Finnish institution famous for his works with Demilich, Demigod, Adramelech, Depravity and many more, Sanguine Vigil is a violent and frantic statement by Galvanizer, sending a sound message to everyone that stands in their way that they’re not among us to fool around. “Expect the same primitive Finnish grinding death madness but this time much more faster and brutal,” said Aleksi about their new opus, probably devilishly grinning about it.

An initial narration which seems to be taken from one of the Friday the 13th movies ignite the moshing feast titled Mood For The Blade, an amazing welcome card by the band exploding into a grinding devastation by Galvanizer led by the infuriated growls by Vili, while Aleksi sounds heavier-than-hell on the guitar. Then simply slam into the circle pit to the frantic Grindcore spearheaded by Nico and his unstoppable beats in Enjoyment Of Annihilation, with its lyrics reminding me of the always inspiring words by metal masters Carcass (“Pulmonary artery hemorrhage / hacksaw through the raped face / cock dismembered brutally / rectum penetrated ghastly way / pleasure to kill / cadavers raping is the name of thrill / game of life / deep thoughts of dirty, sick mind”); followed by Deathbeat Deity, the perfect fusion of old school Death Metal with contemporary Grindcore translated into a rhythmic, pulverizing wall of sounds, with highlights to the amazing job done by Nico on drums and the slashing riffs by Aleksi.

The title-track Sanguine Vigil, the longest of all songs, begins in a somber and ominous manner, morphing into a dense and crushing sonority where Vili growls deeper and deeper (also extracting aggressive tones from his bass) while Nico keeps kicking some serious ass with his beats and fills, whereas Grind Till… You’re Dead! brings forward an absolute brutal demolition in less than two minutes, with all three members pounding their instruments, generating a tornado of violence and gore recommended only for the brave. And the trio keeps blasting their high-octane music with no mercy for our souls in Domestic Mastication, another straightforward, classic Grindcore composition with Vili and Aleksi grinding their strings from start to finish; and in Gorefestation they add an extra dosage of groove to their music thanks to the thunderous bass by Vili, resulting in a fantastic display of extreme music where Nico gets even more demented on drums than before, enhancing the song’s punch considerably. Put differently, the grinding extravaganza proposed by Galvanizer can’t get any better than this.

In Premature Rot, another groovy and flammable chant where the band continues to pave their path of destruction, have fun singing along those beautiful lyrics with Vili (“A premature rot is your fear / as minor treat comes real / accidental slit of the blade / can kill by horrible way / deep wound and painful omen / uncleaned and it’s open / let in the streptococcus / and other hocus pocus”), before the demented Unfinished Autopsy comes crushing your skull mercilessly, with an anguished intro and total havoc being the main ingredients in such hellish feast of Death Metal and Grindcore, with the entire band blasting sheer aggression and rage through their riffs, punches and beats. And as the icing on the cake we have their cover version for Finnish old school Death Metal/Grindcore band Necrobiosis’ A Painful End For Curiosity, originally released in a split album with a Hungarian band named Intense Agonizing in 1994. Well, their version is just as demonic, berserk and gory, and you can compare both by checking the original version HERE.

You can have your brain smashed by Galvanizer by taking a full listen at Sanguine Vigil on YouTube, and get to know more details about the band and their music on Facebook and YouTube. Hence, there’s no excuse for not supporting Galvanizer and not purchasing their visceral music, as Sanguine Vigil is on sale from several different locations, such as the band’s own BandCamp page, the Everlasting Spew Records’ BandCamp page or webstore, in different formats from the Me Saco Un Ojo Records’ webstore, as well as from Record Shop X, iTunes, Amazon and Discogs. Got it? Or should I say “gore” it?

Best moments of the album: Mood For The Blade, Deathbeat Deity and Gorefestation.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Everlasting Spew Records

Track listing
1. Mood For The Blade 3:45
2. Enjoyment Of Annihilation 2:30
3. Deathbeat Deity 3:09
4. Sanguine Vigil 5:14
5. Grind Till… You’re Dead! 1:23
6. Domestic Mastication 3:03
7. Gorefestation 2:26
8. Premature Rot 2:28
9. Unfinished Autopsy 3:37
10. A Painful End For Curiosity (Necrobiosis cover) 3:04

Band members
Vili Mäkinen – vocals, bass
Aleksi Vähämäki – guitars, backing vocals
Nico Niemikko – drums