It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the geographical scenes which exist around the world. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when you consider that music is one of the most widespread and “universal” occupations that humans do. However, the fact that it’s natural doesn’t make it any more digestible. The sheer amount of local, national, and lingual specialities can be hard to keep in order. For example, we’ve been talking a bit about the thriving post-rock/metal scene in South America for a while now, with Labirinto being one of the most prominent examples of what that large (and probably much more complicated and fragmentary) geographical area is capable of producing. With Divino Afflante Spiritu (“inspired by the Holy Spirit”), their latest release, the band digs deeper into their post metal underpinnings and brings forth a heavier, more aggressive release that still does much in advocating for their own unique take on things.
The most obvious step forward for the band comes near the middle of the first track, “Agnus Dei”, which we premiered on the blog, and the introduction of harsh vocals into the mix. This is done to quite an effective result, blending well with the chunkier tone of the guitars on this release and, most of all, with the more aggressive and direct approach to composition which defines much of this album. This kind of robust sound continues throughout the work, hardly taking the time to slow down. A kind of groove takes over the band, drawing comparisons to acts like Telepathy, Toundra, and their ilk.
Check out “Eleh Ha Devarim” (“these are the words”, the opening of Deuteronomy) for a good example; the initial riff which opens the track is all groove, the several guitar tracks blending in quite well and offsetting each other. Later on, this is iterated upon and made even heavier, as the main riff fleshes out even further, backed by a powerfully blistering drum-kit going at full speed. This kind of attitude, where things only get heavier and heavier, comes to symbolize the album as a whole. All you need to do is keep listening as the following “Demiruge” crashes even harder upon you.
Which is not to say that the lighter, more ambient post-rock influences have disappeared completely; they are present mostly on the second half of the album, especially on the more dreamy closing, self-titled track. But herein also lies the main criticism we could levy against the album; the contrast from their previous release is a bit diminished, as the heavier influences that always bubbled beneath the surface are allowed to flourish in full force. That’s done very well but one misses a bit of subtlety and variety in the album, which seems to hit several notes over and over again in its attempt to reach the listener and reach deep.
However, if what you’re looking for is a great, fully fleshed out, and powerful post metal album, Labirinto have delivered the goods once again. While we could spend our time pining for more emotive crescendos and drawn out segments for respite, we could also embrace the chaos, anger, and erratic energy that this album exudes. For those willing to do that, another excellent album from one of the more promising names this genre has to offer today will be revealed.
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Divino Afflante Spiritu was released on February 8th. You can head on over to the Bandcamp link above to grab it.