SummaryInto the storm
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Beside the trinity of Vulcano, Sepultura and Sarcófago, several similar Brazilian metal bands would push the envelope of extreme metal and in this case, we’re talking about thrash/death metal fanatics Mutilator. I haven’t spent much time with the follow-up record, but here the band reveal how they basically had one foot into the death metal genre, resulting into an enjoyable, if contrastive thrash/death metal record.
In several aspects Mutilator sound a little less out there when compared to the aforementioned bands, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of blastbeats sections are certainly present, but given the record’s thrash-like nature, they feel way more out of place when compared to more extreme records such as Bestial Devastation, Bloody Vengeance and I.N.R.I. A razor sharp guitar tone that you’d rather associate with thrash metal cuts through the album and Kelber’s pissed off shouts recall an angry rioter and while his delivery is rather one-dimensional, it makes a refreshing change when compared to the Max Cavalera-esque baritone bark that you might come to expect from this style.
What strikes me as odd is how the death metal riffs give Immortal Force much more of an edge than the thrash metal riffs do. The latter doesn’t always sound as inspiring; meaning that a variety of run-of-the-mill thrash metal riffs occasionally manages to make it through the album although it never results into filler songs, it causes Immortal Force to sound somewhat schizophrenic at least. The foreboding opening sequence of “Memorial Stone Without a Name” immediately recalls Slayer’s Hell Awaits, but instead of an atmospheric epic, you end up with some so-so thrashing rhythms between an ominous death metal riffing inferno and I’m not too fond of the contrasts. “Bloodstorm” is another oddball of a track, where a galloping riff leads into a mayhem of blastbeats and frantic riffs, but after the two minute mark briefly turns into a mid-paced thrashing attack that feels rather out of place.
At their best, Mutilator manages to inject some serious diabolic fury into their craft and this is when Immortal Force really starts to shine. Like a rollercoaster that takes one into the underworld, the title track rides on a hellish riff that could have easily appeared on Sepultura’s Bestial Devastation and as a huge fan of that era of that band, it makes a pleasant surprise. “Paranoiac Command” is another track that resembles early Sepultura by the time you reach that firm, Celtic Frost-inspired riff that could have easily made it on Bestial Devastation. It’s one of the most memorable riffs on the album, but the surrounding sections don’t let down either; as they offer more blasting thrashing that’s not for the faint hearted. “War Dogs” is a whirlwind of a song that almost brings to mind a hybrid between Kreator’s early sound and Sarcófago‘s I.N.R.I. in terms of maniacal guitar chops.
It may not be as extreme or as influential as the works of the bigger Brazilian bands (you know those three by now!), but Immortal Force should certainly satisfy fans of brutal thrash and early death metal. Not to mention that Mutilator will be glad to cause more neck pain than you already have – so don’t you forget about that, either.
Release date: May 1987
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