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Friday, March 25, 2011

Album Review: Cavalera Conspiracy – Blunt Force Trauma

Is it me or are and albums slowly morphing into one another, becoming indistinguishable, both absorbing that old output of clichéd lyrics loaded with call-and-response chorus keywords, pedal-to-the-metal groove, death-edged vocals and blistering stringwork? I know about the odd differences in personnel and equipment, as well as CC’s thrash gearing compared to ’s tendency to get all conceptual on us, but if you blindly play any Cavalera album these days, like Omen, like Arise (yes, I really am dragging in here) and now, this, Blunt Force Trauma you’d probably have a job working out which band’s disc is spinning.

While I await your wrath at even daring to suggest such a thought, can I just point out that it doesn’t really matter who the band is. It’s that patented Cavalera sound and I can’t think of many finer things to be listening to than that. It may sometimes feel like a conveyor belt of clones but it’s Max fucking Cavalera, plus either the guitar god Marc Rizzo and/or drumming fiend Iggor “Two G’s, please” Cavalera too, so who gives a shit? You are holding a blueprint that hasn’t only proved successful once, it’s hit the jackpot three fucking times – and that’s not including !

Interestingly, Max himself, in wanting to make a really intense album, sees this not as a pooling of his own bands but one that draws on the hardcore angst of and the dastardly thrash of – a move that he thinks will make their debut album Inflikted “sound like pop music” (has he forgotten about Joe Duplantier’s ear-mashing role on that one already?). It does, though, lead me to excitedly gesticulate at the fact that Roger Miret () opens up his lungs on “Lynch Mob” – the first halved-beat chorus being the exact point when this album really takes off. Along with “Killing Inside” these form full-blown thrashcore tracks that sound more like does with all the associated beatdowns, chugs, industrial elements and mind-blowing string-bends. Both have astonishing, suckerpunch choruses that will shatter your perceptions of what this band are capable of when they really let loose.

Also consider the moments of pure meets adrenaline where the sick speed-shred utterly dominates tracks like “Thrasher”, “Rasputin” and “Target” which rip a path of chaos through the whole album. Having said that, there’s probably still one too many moments where that Cavalera blueprint is in use – the still catchy-as-hell “Warlord”, the expletive-loaded “Torture” and the bruising title-track for instance. They are heavy enough but, sadly, sound all too familiar with Max’s stylized, staccato delivery and Rizzo’s armpit guitar shreds dominating everything. If you look closely enough I reckon you could spot the edges of the molds they’ve been cut from.

Basically, what we have here is heavy metal fine-tuned to fuck you up. The glorious, loin-curdling battery of the instruments will draw you into the pit and the primitive vocal will easily get you wailing. It’s got a little bit of everything thrown in – standard metal clichés for the mindless (“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I feel no fear”, “eye for an eye” and, best of all, a whole string of them together for “blunt force trauma, violence disorder, suicide bomber, now you in a coma”) and war-chants for the angry to get their pump on to (“Torture, motherfucking torture” and “I speak hate, do you understand?, I speak hate”). On top of all this carnage, Rizzo has some mind-blowingly cool stuff to play to you, from those key (yet suddenly generic) faux-feedback whips, fingerboard-taps and echoing, proggy sections, right up to technical and neo-classical riffs and solos that simply defy belief.

There are some tracks here that are already my absolute Cavalera favorites but, if you consider the aforementioned regurgitated / material and the actual album’s full running time of 34 minutes, I can’t hand-on-heart demand that you splash the cash on this. Due to the panic-stricken pace of what’s on show, that half-hour goes by in a flash. There are definitely little glimpses of genius here but we are aching now to see more of thinking outside the box, and not just when they draft in a guest or go apeshit with a Flag or Sabbath cover (Extended Edition? – get some).

Also online (with 30-sec samples) @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/cavalera-conspiracy-blunt-force-trauma

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