Much has been written about the history of thrash metal, and in those annals you’ll discover how it evolved from both the stripped-down rebelliousness of punk and the influences of earlier “classic” heavy metal, adding more speed, more aggression, and an even more defiantly confrontational attitude to the music. One thing that sometimes gets lost, especially in how the genre has evolved, is that some of the earlier practitioners made the music also sound downright evil.
The Brazilian band Thrashera haven’t forgotten that. It may have something to do with the fact that their own homeland spawned such bands as Sepultura, Dorsal, Atlântica, Chakal, and Vulcano, not to mention Sarcófago. But whatever the reason, these dudes revel in the “golden age” of thrash, when it was taking shape as a world-eating but still deeply underground and confrontational force.
Their roots are plain for all to hear, but they’re so damned good at what they do that the music sounds explosively alive — and yes indeed, downright evil — rather than generic and worn out. You’ll believe this for yourselves when you hear their new album Bastardos da Noite, which we’re streaming in full today in advance of the record’s imminent July 20 release by Helldprod Records.
photo by Marcelo Catacci
It’s always fun to discover how bands choose to open their new albums. Sometimes they pick a “scene setter”, a “mood piece” that doesn’t have much to do with the style of the music that follows it. Sometimes they leap headfirst into what the album as a whole provides, and pick a song that stands as a “mission statement” or one that gets its hooks in listeners’ heads faster than others.
With “Distópica Marcha Bastarda“, a song that’s explicitly denominated an “Intro”, Thrashera chose the first course. A dramatic echoing voice speaks in increasingly adamant tones (in Brazilian, like all the words on the record) above ominous ambient tones, a gloomy but also ominous classical piano melody (and a familiar one), and swells of symphonic strings. The effect is haunting, and threatening — and no obvious clue to what’s coming, at least musically. (Except it really is a clue, as you’ll discover.)
Thrashera get to the real bloody red meat of the matter with the album’s title track, which comes next, and there they treat the ears to a heart-pounding race of galloping drums, brazen riffing, and viciously barking but imperious snarls. The pulse of the music is fiery and strong, but also menacing and sinister. The vibrantly swirling solo, rapidly flickering leads, and grand chords are authentically diabolical.
And that’s a hallmark of the album as well: The music is hellish (even when the lyrical themes deal with hell on earth), like raving demons set free to cavort, with teeth bared and eyes wild, and to have their way with you. The drums snap at your neck like feeding jaws and rumble in bursts like boulders; the riffs blaze and quiver; the vocals grunt, growl, cackle in deviant glee, and erupt in gang howls. And lest we forget the subterranean luciferian source of this experience, the band continue throwing in “atmospheric” intro segments, combining supernatural ambient sounds and evil-sounding pronunciations that reverberate off of crypt walls.
It probably goes without saying, but the high-octane romps within the album are all fiendishly infectious — as well as fiendish in just about every other way. The soloing remains electrifying throughout, and at times (as in “Partidário ao Metal” and “Noite Obscena“) it’s also majestic and mesmerizing, providing a wonderfully elegant (and sometimes sorrowful) counterpoint to the feral energy that’s the main mosh-fuel of these tracks.
In a similarly dynamic way, songs like “A dona da Noite de Metal” incorporate the anthemic grandeur of old-school heavy metal chords to augment the blazing thrash propulsion, cutting new facets in these obsidian gems. And on the other hand, tracks like “A Viúva do Capeta” are just blisteringly fast and ferociously superheated (though that one also becomes a heavy metal anthem too).
So, with that preview, prepare to get your legs jumping, your heads banging, and your mind spinning in devilish delight — and press play now!
Bastardos da Noite was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Ivi Kardec, and it features cover art by Emerson Maia. It will be released by Helldprod in jewel-case CD and digital editions. Pre-order now: