When brutal death metal is done to perfection it comes off as a beautifully orchestrated cacophony of violence, mayhem, and musicianship. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is a certain elegance about it. Enter Italy’s Antropofagus and their 2012 release Architecture of Lust. This is not an album with much crossover appeal to those who aren’t fans of the genre. This is the REAL stuff, pure, undistilled, untainted, and unrelenting. Just a titanic slab of absolute bone-crushing, spine-jarring death metal.
Although they have been compared to fellow countrymen Hour of Penance, I’d more aptly compare them to Aeon. No disrespect to either of the aforementioned (I really like both of those bands), but Antropofagus bring a whole different intensity to the table. This album gets right to the point, and it is pretty clear what you are in for with the opener, which is the title track. No one is going to get in touch with their inner child or sensitive side here . . . you’re in for a big time ass-kicking. Architecture of Lust is a heavy, heavy offering, clocking in at just under 35 minutes, which may seem a little short but in reality is about perfect considering the density of the material.
These guys play at insane tempos, spearheaded by the precise attack of Davide “Brutal Dave” Davilla, with Jacopo on bass and “Meatgrinder” handling the incredible guitar riffing. Vocalist Tya is the perfect fit for the chaos with his incredibly heavy mid- to low-range vocals. The playing on this album is incredibly tight yet still organic sounding, unlike the trend to overproduce the crap out of most modern metal albums. My only complaint with the production would be to prefer maybe a little more attention to the bass, but all in all these guys are captured in their frenetic glory.
I should point out here that although the raging attack never lets up, Antropofagus are by no means a one-trick pony. They know when to pace the songs and bring the attack into that mid-tempo range before ripping your head off again, as in the gargantuan “Sadistic Illusive Puritanism” or “Blessing Upon My Redemption” or the slow, dirgy pace of “Det Helgeran Av Haxor.” These songs are anchored by a real understanding of the genre and possess tremendous architecture. The lyrical content is inspired by Clive Barker’s Hellraiser series, which I suppose is as good a topic as any if your intent is to sonically devastate your listeners.
Interestingly, their last full-length release was in 1999. What? How does that happen? Having heard their earlier works (Meatgrinder being the only original member), I have to say this band have undergone a huge transformation. And what a comeback! I think we too often hear the word “old school” when discussing a band who aren’t operating with modern gimmicks. But with a band whose roots go back to the late 90’s, you’d expect some homage to be paid to the time period. And while they are true to that statement, make no mistake this is a modern and highly relevant album.
As a guest writer at NCS I have the advantage of reviewing only bands and albums that I really enjoy. And just as with the subject of my last review — Hideous Divinity and their masterpiece Obeisance Rising — Antropofagus deliver an album that I have squarely in my top 10 of the year. I know there are many great albums to spend your money on this year, but this is a band that is highly deserving. If you like great death metal, support it. Go out and buy the damn album and maybe we won’t have to wait another 13 years for these monsters to put out their next one!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Antropofagus are based in Genoa, Italy, and their Facebook page is here. They have an official web site at this location. Architecture of Lust was released earlier this year on Comatose Music, and it’s available on the band’s web store among other places. Here’s the band’s official video for “Sanguinis Bestiae Solium”, followed by two more tracks from the album via ReverbNation: