White Hell

Written by: TL on 01/03/2009 23:01:31

After two run-ins with a couple of Germany's upcoming melodeath bands, I have to confess that I'm relieved to move on to Chile's Criminal, who can in no way be described by using words like "upcoming" or "melodic". The band's sixth full length album "White Hell" just feels like an entirely awesome change in all of it's 12 tracks of uncompromising glory. What we're dealing with is a full on assault of the combined forces of death and thrash metal (mostly thrash though), which would probably have been more suited under AB's jurisdiction than mine, but while I may lack knowledge of many similar acts, I'll do my best to convey what's going on in its songs anyway.

Did I mention that the album was uncompromising? Let me spell that out for you. This album is so packed to the rim with buzz-saw riffs, full speed drums and angry vocals that you just know that its perpetrators must have listened to too much Slayer in their early years. It's hard for me to tell you what other bands they sound like (because I don't know many of them), but let me assure you, music like this is what faithful Christians and protective parents are afraid of. Hell, after hearing this, I think I'd be frightened by the thought of running into these dudes in a dark alley come night time. Thank God they're half way round the world from me I guess.

As for the sound, let me emphasize again that the pedal is floored through the metal almost all of the time, and when it's not, Criminal let some death seep into their thrashy universe, to create some truly malignant atmospheres before they thunder on; see "The Deluge". Another stand out track is "Incubus" after which I'm left with an unpleasant feeling that this band is out to physically harm someone - In a very serious way. And if anyone were doubting how a thrash band such as this feels about religion, just listen to how the vocalist barks "I AM INFIDEL!" in a most unpleasant and hateful manner in "Infidel". I haven't even mentioned the solos, but I'll leave it for you to discover their jaw-dropping technical level on your own I think.

Overall, I'm no expert on thrash metal, so I may be wrong in my conclusions, but it is my opinion that "White Hell" is a very strong album in its genre, given that it is loyal to the style without ever seeming like just a tribute. Rather it is the interpretation of a very characteristic and serious band, and for that it is enjoyable even to me. I still think that there's a step left to take for Criminal, from being part of the thrash genre to being a truly distinctive representative of it, and for that they're going to have to make their songs stand apart from one another a bit more, but that's just a small critique, and for anyone who likes their metal fast, manly and generally unfriendly, this should be bought without second thought.

Download: Incubus, The Deluge, Infidel
For The Fans Of: Legion Of The Damned, Slayer, early Sepultura

Release Date: 27.02.2009

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