Sunday, May 20, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Criminal-Dead Soul

Inferno Records/Metal Blade Records

Criminal are a South American band that are relatively unknown here in the United States, but have a sizeable following in their homeland. No doubt it is thanks to their potent brand of death metal/thrash with a hardcore bent. This was actually the band's sophomore release and the first album I heard from the band. Originally it was released on Inferno Records, but seeing as it sold some 10,000 copies in Chile alone it wasn't long before someone took notice. Metal Blade records came along to publish the album in America and Europe. Right from the start the band drew comparisons to Incubus (the Brazilian death metal band) and older Sepultura ("Beneath The Remains" & "Arise" era). The Sepultura influence can be heard especially in the vocal deliverance of Criminal guitarist/vocalist Anton Reisenegger. He bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain Max Cavalera. Style-wise there is also some Slayer to their sound especially in the lead work. Add that to some Pantera, Machine Head and Pissing Razors influences and what you get is certainly more than just run-of-the-mill death/thrash. This one is every bit as heavy on the thrash side of things as it is brutal with the death metal bits and the hardcore influx. While this isn't hardcore like Black Flag hardcore (rather it is hardcore like Pantera/Machine Head and Pissing Razors hardcore) it is everybit as heavy as early hardcore like the Cro-Mags and C.O.C. What the band might lack in originality (some of the songs do feel a bit similar in nature the more the album unwinds) they make up for in shear intensity and brutality. There is more going on here then simple Brazilian death/thrash. There's just something in the band's mix-up of hardcore, death and thrash that almost reminds me of the band Cave In (in their early days) is they were to pay homage to older Slayer. This is one band that needs more of an audience up North. Those who answer the call to Criminal will not be disapointed. This is underground metal that needs to be heard to truly be appreciated.

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