VITAM ET MORTEM – EL RIO DE LA MUERTE – SATANATH
The latest full-length album by Colombia-based ‘Life And Death’ is a sixty out of a hundred for me, which is already ‘above average,’ but read on and depending on your point-of-view may be a higher mark for you.
This is a concept album in English and Spanish drawing parallels between a river in Colombia to the mythical Acheron and Charon the ferryman traversing the body of water. As such, the intro El Rio De La Muerte (Obertura) opens the album. It leads to Los Cuerpos En El Rio, which itself begins with a funereal and morbid introduction before the song proper kicks in. This is brutal underground metal with growled vocals. There is a clear Morbid Angel influence there and the music does not take a straightforward or cloned route. The beginning of this track takes one back to Testament’s The New Order. Track eight Nomen Nescio is a slow track with spoken words overdubbed. This is followed by a new version of a 2008 track originally found on the band’s Commanding The Obscure Imperius release. The album winds down with Ritos De Muerte, which is a Masacre (Colombia) cover. This is coincidental as noting the band’s home country made me think of Masacre as well before noticing the cover version. Regardless, all of this to say that it looks like the band has made a full-length out of what is essentially an EP. The vocals are front and centre and make an impact, the guitar is heard and, as mentioned, not clichéd. The band has a drummer, but my bet is that the ‘drumming’ on the recording is courtesy of HAL 1,000. It sounds like crap and generates as much power as hitting a pencil against a desk. There are some synthesizers occasionally in the background, which fill in for the absent bass sound. These issues are the band’s downfall. Otherwise, the Morbid Angel-meets-slowed down Vital Remains is not a bad option for fans of the sub-genre. The dark atmosphere and sped up tracks like Aqueronte help the act. – Ali “The Metallian”