Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned

There are many paths towards the status of veteran in death metal. Some bands, like Mithras who recently came back to us, release classic albums and then disappear only to resurface years later, bearing the gospel of the riff once again. Others are second/third/fourth wave mavericks, incessantly dragging death metal into modernity like Misery Index. But there’s also a rare kind of beast out there, the death metal band that’s been around since the genre’s heyday and has also ceased to stop working, constantly releasing new music. In that category, few bands have the primacy of pedigree that Krisiun enjoy.

These guys, hailing from metal’s often unsung champion, Brazil (AngraSarcofagoSepultura, and so many more) have released an album every one-three years since 1995 (!) and yet, get way less credit than they deserve. Their sound has always been huge, from the very beginning, slowly evolving into one of the most punishing and fast bands operating within death metal. On Scourge of the Enthroned, their upcoming release, Krisiun see no reason to stray from this course; instead, they inject tons of style into their sound with classically intoned solos, mind-bending transitions and an all around approach to production which leaves the listener in the dust of the music’s intricacy.

Where Mithras chose to go through the cold sounds and lethality of space, Krisiun are all about size and weight. Everything goes at 11 but, somehow, the kick drums pierce through the whole thing with their heavy register. The guitar tone might be the most interesting thing when talking about the production; when the riffs are playing, it’s modern enough, with large emphasis on the interplay between the rings of the chords (backed by redolent bass notes) and the higher screeching of the leads. But on the many, many solos replete throughout this album a more classic tone, which might even go as far as to describe as heavy metal influenced, graces the cries, bends and whistles that the guitar undergoes.

And boy are there a lot of those solos; the lead guitar seems wanton to explode at any moment into some adventure of its own, extrapolating on the ideas of the track around it. Which is maybe its single most astounding quality: even when solos are flying left and right, those guitar tones and ideas seem like an integral part of the track. Somehow, all the crazy riffs and massive guitar lines coalesce into a whole that just makes you want to fly off the handle and break some stuff. A great example of this is “A Thousand Graves”; listen near the middle of the track as, in the midst of thick, undulating riffs, the guitar takes off for a few seconds on some bizarre escapade (and again, a minute or so later) which serves not to detract from your attention but rather to cause you to perk up in your seat and feel the track even more.

Add to all of this powerful, indomitable vocals on the lower register of the growl, a well balanced run-time that makes sure this slab of heavy doesn’t wear out its welcome and a constant elaboration on a theme and you have yourself one monster of an album. It’s death metal done fast, heavy, and well from one of the somewhat overlooked heroes of the genre and by god, does it fucking slap (as the kids say). Do yourselves a favor, put on some headphones (or turn your speakers up), and blast the singles already released from this thing; it’s some of the most directly explosive metal you’ll hear all year.

 

Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.