The cover art for the new album by Kratornas could hardly have been better conceived. Like the artwork, the music pours sulfurous satanic hellfire down upon the damned (and everyone else) in a superheated torrent. The album’s name suits the music as well: Devoured By Damnation. And there’s no reason to just take our word for it, because below you’ll find our premiere of a full album stream to coincide with its release today by Grathila Records.
Kratornas began in the early ’90s as the solo project of a musician in the Philippines named Zachariah — though the debut album of Kratornas didn’t appear until 2007. In 2011, after the release of the second Kratornas album, Zachariah moved to Canada. And here we are, roughly 7 years after the last album, ready to be scorched by the new one. For this album, Zachariah is accompanied by a human drummer, GB Guzzarin, though he continues to handle vocals, guitar, and bass by himself.
In creating this new full-length, Zachariah has identified the music of Bathory, Deicide, Sadus, Terrorizer, and Vader as inspirations, though it will appeal to fans of other bands as well. If genre references would be helpful, it’s an electrifying amalgam of grindcore, raw black metal, thrash, and death metal.
I must admit that any album which begins with a bass solo is going to immediately open my foul black heart to it. And that’s how Devoured By Damnation begins. But what comes after that bass solo made me love it even more. I used the word “electrifying” in the last paragraph, but that seems like way too tame a word. The music is so explosive, so turbocharged with energy, so bursting with ravenous ferocity, that it requires some kind of new word, something like “electrocutionary”.
Everything is off the hook: The new Kratornas drummer is a superhuman speed machine, and the sound is produced in a way that makes every one of the zillion beats punch right through your cranium like live ammo. Zachariah is just as bleeding-edge fast with his riffs and his solos — which are completely incendiary and brain-twisting. And his vocals are utterly maniacal — an array of demonic shrieks, bestial howls, and rapid-fire barks and snarls so feral and infuriated as to put the rest of the predatory creatures in the animal kingdom to shame.
What’s even better is that the music doesn’t just move in the sense that a rocket moves. The songs are more than sheer exultations in the thrill of speed and violence. They also change course. They veer into hammering grooves; they bolt into bursts of blood-pumping thrash riffing; they pulse like some kind of laser weapon being triggered.
Yes, the songs are often deranged — when Kratornas is in full grind mode, you can imagine oceans of blood spray ejected from a fire hose and bodies being atomized in a frenzied butchery — but there’s impressive intricacy and dynamism in the songs, as well as jaw-dropping technical skill and manifest blood lust.
Granted, my memory ain’t what it used to be, but I don’t remember another album I’ve heard this year which is as much of a wild, raw thrill ride as this one. It’s yet another example of a jewel that’s dropping so close to year-end that it risks being overlooked — and it damned well should not be. Highly recommended.
The album was mixed by Zachariah and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege and it’s now available CD and digitally as of today via Grathila Records on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Googleplay and all major online retailers