Ruins of Gomorrah
posted on 10/2012 By:
It's odd that there aren't more Sepultura clones out there. (And when I'm talking Sepultura, I'm talking about the band that broke up circa 1997. I know Andreas Kisser's cabaret act is basically the Brazilian U2 right now, but that sentiment is pretty far from global.) But for all the Slayer and Death worshippers out there, it's strange that there aren't more tribal tribute acts floating across the world.
Stranger still is that, when you finally find one, it's not nearly as thrilling as the hunt.
This may be a testament to the true Sep's enduring quality and uniqueness; hearing Undercroft's death-weighted take on that classic sound is fun, at least for a fleeting moment, but the rub isn't quite right.
Undercroft, expectedly, has strong South American roots, despite their penchant for globetrotting. After releasing a spotty and sporadic string of albums dating back to 1995, the band's profile has since been bolstered by bassist / vocalist Alvaro Lillo's status as a live member of black metal chickenhawks Watain.
Lillo's vocals distinctly recall pre-FUBU-jersey Max Cavalera, with a bit of a rougher edge. Undercroft combines the working class grit of mid-rangy, NYDM-esque death metal with detuned, single note JDFU grooves. "Black Magik Witches" displays their fiercest old-school swagger: Drummer Pablo Cortes masterfully switches from cruise-control groove to ultra-potent blastery. But Lillo possesses decidedly less expertise in his chosen field; his refrain here is, essentially, the reptition of the phrase "Black Magik Witches," a half-assed technique which he drives into the ground on the next track, "Dead Human Flesh," which opens and closes with a cave-crawliing chant: "Dead Human Flesh / Dead Human Flesh / Dead Human Flesh / Dead Human Flesh / Dead Human Flesh / Dead Human Flesh."
Thus, we're not dealing with a beacon of profound death metal intelligence here, but Undercroft isn't fronting as such. This is basically just a bunch of mean dudes making mean music about Satan and sex. Sometimes it works, such as on "The Art of Vengeance" and its bombastic intro, or via the relentless brutality of "Empalando Al Invasor." But, even still... Krisiun has a pretty rad thing going, you know? Undercroft is solid enough at plying their craft, but if nearly twenty years of semi-activity can tell us anything, Ruins of Gomorrah's tenuous grip at the second tier's bottom rung is about as strong as it's going to get.
But, hey, at least they kick the shit out of Ektomorf.
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