Review: NO RAZA “Transcending Material Sins” [Noble Demon]

Review: NO RAZA “Transcending Material Sins” [Noble Demon]

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Transcending Material Sins is made of interesting ideas and not always great execution. This is another of these albums I didn’t find all that great. But instead of mostly complaining, I’ll change my formula a little bit, and start with what I didn’t like, and then spend more time on the good points of the album.

That album is long and rather repetitive. The longest song is six minutes long, but they all tend to feel longer than that. The vocals don’t vary much being nearly always the same slightly gurgly growl occasionally interrupted by raspy screams or, well, not spoken word, but speak-screaming. The songs at least have intros that sound different enough from each other, but after a while, the songs tend to fall back on the same riffs, rhythms and vocals, and feel too similar.

But I guess it’s not completely boring or devoid of any merit. The deep growled vocals are pretty good. As I said, the songs have good intros, such as the explosive riffs of On the Verge of Dying Out, the thrash/power metal intro of Alteración Mental, or the melodic but twisted intro of Decontamination and the haunting acoustic riff that comes back later as the outro on Atrición.

I like how angry and heavy the album sounds as a whole. This is especially apparent on Sail in Rot, which in addition to a great title, has a truly evil and well, rotten atmosphere. Or on Atrición, the angriest-sounding and heaviest track. The album also makes some convincing attempts at a more melodic but experimental sound in latter tracks like En Carne y Hueso. It even ends on quiet keys and drums instrumental, which the album is titled after, and that sounds nice even though it’s also pretty repetitive.

I also need to mention the band’s intentions with this album, and their general vision, as explained in their biography: celebrating and preserving the indigenous cultures of South America. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to get political in my reviews, but since the band themselves brought up those issues, I’ll add my two cents. This band’s message is something I can completely respect. I think that we really need more metal that addresses those issues or focuses on non-European cultures in general, and it’s great that we are starting to get more of those.

But even then, I think that the few South American history and culture-themed metal bands that I’ve heard before were more interesting than this. It’s an album that, while I can respect its ambitions, and admit that at least it had real effort put into it, I really struggled to finish. I think that some of you might get some enjoyment out of it, so you can check it out if you’re curious. But as for me, I’m not sure if it’s going to be an album I’ll like better after a few more listens, or if it’s going to remain one of those albums I wish I’d enjoy more than I do.

Release date: March 20th, 2020

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Sophie Laliberté

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