The Great Execution
posted on 11/2011 By:
For no real reason other than the foolish human yearning for order and symmetry, I’ve often thought of the ‘Big Three’ of German thrash – Sodom, Destruction, and Kreator – as having a cross-hemispheric counterpart in the ‘Big Three’ (for me, at least) of Brazilian metal: Sarcofago, Sepultura, and Krisiun. Though the analogy is inexact in many ways, both countries seem to have imparted a specific regional character to their bands, though Krisiun hews most closely to the comparison of the Brazilian lot due to its status as a reliable bulwark of death metal righteousness. That righteousness is evident in the fact that Krisiun’s career to date has been devoted, in large part, to answering the question: What would happen if, after releasing Altars of Madness, Morbid Angel guzzled a barrelful of amphetamines, stayed awake for a week, and recorded an album of merciless death using jackhammers, downed power lines, and salmon-starved grizzly bears in lieu of traditional musical instruments? In short: Krisiun kicks fucking ass.
Coming off of a career high in 2008’s Southern Storm, these three brothers have wisely decided to make a few minor adjustments in their sound. Make no mistake, this is still a Krisiun album through and through, with razor-taut riffing, lightspeed drum precision, wailing guitar leads and paint-stripping vocal gruffness, but the frequent excursions into slightly more restrained speeds and spacious songwriting throughout The Great Execution give more space than ever for the brothers Krisiun to season their barbaric death metal destruction with subtle touches of dark atmosphere. That is, although Krisiun’s attack posture is no less blistering, within this stretched-out compositional palette the effect is a furious slow-burn rather than a blitzkrieg, a bulldozer patiently leveling a sprawling city block by careful block rather than a single flash of atomic destruction.
What remains indisputable is that when these three men hit their stride, there is nothing in the world to stop them, and The Great Execution yet again provides rock-solid evidence that even in the face of overwhelming consistency (some might say predictability), what matters more than constant innovation is soul-deep commitment. It’s a trait which is every bit as bleedingly audible as it is impossible to quantify, but nevertheless, one hears it in Moyses Kolesne’s fantastic lashing guitar line toward the end of “The Will to Potency,” or when things get a bit funky on “Blood of Lions,” or when the taut, bouncy main riff waltzes out of the gates on “Descending Abomination.” One hears the commitment in Max Kolesne’s unimpeachable drumming, because even when he is engaged in the most reckless displays of hyperspeed blasting, his double bass assault is always brightened through an impressive toolkit of fills (see especially the jaw-dropping opening section of “The Extremist”), and one hears it in bassist Alex Camargo’s vocal style, which is every bit as venomous as ever, expelling a full-throated bellow that is both hoarse and guttural: 70% death metal, 30% hardcore, 200% ‘fuck you’.
For an album that traipses past the one-hour mark, The Great Execution miraculously gets better as it gets on, whether through the tantalizing flamenco flourish of acoustic guitars on “The Sword of Orion”; the diabolically catchy fleet-fingered main riff and mid-song guitar solo dragged forward by disgustingly surging bass of “Violentia Gladiatore”; the collaboration with vocalist João Gordo of legendary Brazilian hardcore band Ratos de Porão on “Extinção em Massa,” which finds Krisiun laying out their thrashiest punk grooves for Gordo’s rapid-fire delivery; or the massive torrent of crushing fretwork and multiple guitar solo walkabouts on titanic album closer “Shadows of Betrayal.” If only death is real, then clearly these Brazilians have hitched their cart to the right horse, even though The Great Execution proves there’s plenty of life left out on these old dusty trails.
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