|3.6 (2 votes):|
When reviewing music, there are very few times when an album leaves me stumped with which I cannot find much to say. I find this issue common as I skirt along the genre spectrum and locate myself listening to works like Asfixia by the thrash metal/crossover band Dezaztre Natural. Even though I’m fairly cultured with most sub-genres of metal, -core included, the term “Crossover” initially had me at such a loss, I had to educate myself with what I was dealing with. So after a brief read, I hope to paint the Chileans’ third full-length album in an accurate light, as I’d hate to misrepresent what some might like about such a genre, in this case, thrash and crossover. I actually wasn’t too repulsed by the genre at hand, as when I first gave this band a sample listen I though it sounded a bit like one of my favorite bands, Gwar, so I took it upon myself to give this an honest listen and a fair shake.
To begin with, there are a lot of miniscule and bizarre issues I find myself having with the album. Firstly, it’s digital only, yet the previous two full-length albums were released, albeit in limited quantity, on CD. To the casual/ modern music fan, it may not be much of an issue, but it’s an incongruency that doesn’t ruin the album, but dampers my appreciation of it. The next issue which miffed me was the intro track, as it fell into the horrible pitfall, of an ambient intro. These are absolutely the worst, especially to a fan of ambient music such as myself, as the dissonance in the rapid shift of music on the track “Persadilla Senil”, just makes me want to switch to something with a consistent tone. The intro is very much an ambient underwater piece, with warbles of unknown fear, and impending danger of a submarine sonar, contrasting sharply with the natural darkness of the deep blue. But then the intro is jarred with fast-pace, crude with an attitude, thrash/crossover. I find it especially misleading when looking at the cover, depicting the aforementioned environment with a monstrous kraken surrounded by monuments. The cover actually mingles with the thrash/crossover style and message well in fact, ripe with figures buried under the mass of water, but it’s intro that shuffles everything up for me. But hey, it could’ve been worse, they could’ve dedicated the entire track to it!
Speaking of messages, the message of this albums is lost in translation, quite literally. As you may have guessed from the band’s local, name and track/album titles, these guys are singing in their native tongue of Spanish. Decoding some of the track titles (see shoving into google translate) I could infer the topic being on the dystopian topic of fascism and too much government control. Singers singing in their native tongue may be a deal breaker for some, as not being able to understand the lyrics could be a huge detriment, but I don’t mind putting in a bit of extra work, but then another problem arises. Barring the first track, which had a lyric video, none of the other tracks have apparent lyrics. So, unless you’re a native Spanish speaker, or are in just for the performances, you’re out of luck in understanding what’s going on aside from the track names. This once again is not a deal breaker for myself, but another dampening of appreciation, as I’d give the band the benefit of the doubt that maybe they’re breaking new ground lyrically, however for now I’ll probably never know.
Moving on to the more positive side of the album, Asfixia has some of the best production for a thrash/crossover band I’ve ever heard. It’s reminiscent of Beyond Hell by GWAR, with its aggressive guitars, twang filled bass that has a generous amount of volume, and firm drum sound. The only thing holding it back is the vocals, and the mix as a whole is bit too clean, and with a scruff a dirt to it, it’d be near flawless. The instruments all carry an aggressive and moody punk sound to them, ripe with anger that’s been fed up with being told what to do. The bass is the highlight of the mix personally, as it is a miracle to have this instrument so prominent and involved with the music, instead of just playing in the background like a third wheel. I’d say Rene Dizaster does a fantastic job on bass, but seeing as the bandcamp page for this album lacks a proper line up describing the specific personnel, take this thanks with a grain of salt. The guitars are also sharp in this regard, as they convey a certain power, without being overbearing over the other instruments at hand, providing a complimentary sound that meshes well.
Without being able to understand the language presented, the vocals are average and serviceable, but nothing special. After being spoiled with the cartoony antics of crossover bands like X-Cops and Gwar, it’s hard to think that anything can top their over top performances. On their own however, the (I believe) two vocalists are chocked fill with energy and spirit that can really only be found in their own tongue, and are hard to recreate on their own merit. The vocals are very punkish in nature, and rarely border on the line between hardcore and metal, contrary to the music itself, which varies from straight forward thrash, to more technical riffs, and even semi-death metal stylings, as seen on the last track “Nuevo Orden Mundial”, which especially had me head banging. The music is the all-in-all thrash style with some hardcore thrown in here or there, but it’s unmistakably metal, and offers the occasional solo that melts your face clean off.
Though I had my fair share of issues with album, at its core, it’s very apparent it had some talent going into it, that I just so happen am not able to appreciate fully. And for just a dollar on their Bandcamp, the album is more than worth it, even if you’re not a thrash/crossover fan. Out of the 10 tracks on the album, there’s bound to be one that everyone can enjoy.
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