As you can see, we’re about to bring you another premiere. As you can see, it’s from a record with an out-of-the-ordinary piece of cover art, especially for a slab of monstrous death metal. So let’s start with that artwork.
Obviously, it looks like a comic book cover — a strange one, to be sure, with an attractive young woman swaddling a Lovecraftian nightmare spawn, and some other inhuman figures in the corner presiding over the torching of a church. There’s a tiny logo in the other corner with “HM-2” in the center. And then there’s the comic’s date: April 02 1973. What is the significance of that?
Well, it turns out to be a tribute to the late Leif Cuzner, who was born on that day. A bassist and guitarist for the enormously influential Swedish band Nihilist, he is widely credited as the inventor of the legendary “buzzsaw” guitar sound, created by turning up all the knobs on his Boss HM-2 distortion pedal to the maximum.
Paying attention to all the clues in the unusual cover art tells you many useful things about the record itself, which is the debut album of the Filipino death metal band Punebre. Entitled Ang Nasa Dako Paroon, it will be released on May 15th by the Mexican label Death in Pieces Records. But through our premiere of the album track “Hele Hele” we have an even better clue.
Now a full band based in Manila, Punebre (the Filipino word for Dirge) was first formed in Singapore five years ago as a solo project by Alexander Dela Cruz. It expanded into a full band after he moved back to the Philippines in mid-2019 and now includes Dela Cruz on guitar, Ian Cuevas (Demiurge, Brimstone In Fire) on vocals and guitar, Christian Igna (Brimstone In Fire) on bass, and Ryan Quiray (Pus Vomit, Gangrene) on drums.
On this new album they draw influences from Autopsy, Impetigo, Phlegm, and Dismember (to name a few). As they explain it:
It’s an eleven-song homage to horror, humor and our love and obsession for the HM-2 chainsaw! We recorded at Banana Rising Recording Studio (‘Sup Inigo!) and it was mixed and mastered at Demiurge Digital by our very own, Ian. The cover artwork is done by Ernest Concepcion, layout by Boyet Miguel, and our friend, Danny Nelson from Malignancy laid down vocals for “Hele Hele“. We had a killer time working on this record and we can’t wait for you to hear it! Hail the saw!
…more crazy artwork, created for Punebre
“Hele Hele” doesn’t last long, but long enough to make a dangerous and destructive impact. As you would expect from what we’ve already written, the sound of the riffing is absolutely mauling and mad, distorted to corrosive levels of abrasion and roiling in a way that sounds berserk as well as capable of chewing through concrete (if these are chainsaws, they have diamond-studded teeth).
But as dense, filthy, and ferocious as those sounds are, somehow they don’t submerge the other instruments. The sharp pop of the snare comes through, both steady and frenetic, and the drums also erupt in booming thunder. The bass comes through too, like the growling and grinding of a subterranean excavating machine.
And of course there’s no hiding the sheer monstrosity of the vocals, which veer from cold, cavernous gutturals to bestial yowls and howls and deliriously rabid screams.
No, it’s not long, but long enough to create an experience in blood-congealing horror, and long enough leave us hungry for more. We hope you’ll feel the same way.
Death in Pieces Records will release Ang Nasa Dako Paroon in a CD format. For more info about the album and how to acquire it, check the links below.