Usually when we mention Portugal here at the Vault, it’s because another one of the seemingly endless stream of kvlt as fvck Portuguese black metal bands just released something impossibly raw but brilliant. But in much the same way that no regional or national scene (for lack of a better term) is completely one-dimensional, there’s more happening in Portugal than just black metal.
For example, the Portuguese death metal scene is starting to gain international attention thanks to bands like Analepsy, whose most recent full-length Atrocities from Beyond garnered a fair amount of worldwide buzz among the brutal death metal crowd, and the terrifyingly occult black/death of The Ominous Circle, whose debut full-length Appalling Ascension was released this past January to much acclaim.
And who will be the next big thing to come from the Portuguese death metal scene? My money is on Lisbon-based Annihilation. Far from newcomers to the metal world—in fact, they’ve been around for close to fifteen years—they’ve nevertheless been fairly deliberate in terms of their releases. It took them seven years after forming (and five years from the release of their first and only demo) to release their debut Against the Storm. Three years later they follow that up with the EP The Undivided, and now, three years after that, they’re set to release their sophomore full-length The Undivided Wholeness of Things on November 28 – an album that we’re absolutely thrilled to be exclusively streaming here at the Vault.
What takes Annihilation so long between releases? Fuck if I know, though they have experienced their share of lineup flux over the last couple of years, to the point where their current lineup isn’t the same one that recorded The Undivided Wholeness of Things. Did bandleader/primary songwriter Fábio Silva put the intervening time to good use? The answer is a resounding “fuck yes!”
And as a sidebar, I feel like this might be a good time to mention that I don’t really even like brutal death metal. Every time I see a band logo like Annihilation’s, I immediately hear “ree ree” riffs and pig squeals in my head. Blessedly, Annihilation’s music is free from either. Analepsy’s Diogo Santana provides the vocals for The Undivided Wholeness of Things, and there’s nary a pig squeal in earshot, nor is there a single “ree ree” in any of the album’s riffs. Instead, imagine a more terrestrial-bound version of Wormed and you’re close to Annihilation’s sound. There’s definitely the same sort of cosmic slant to their overall musical approach, but Annihilation’s music doesn’t sound like aliens produced it (and I say this as a pretty big fan of Wormed).
Instead, Annihilation reminds me of the way Casey Kasem used to sign off on his weekly Top-40 radio broadcast when I was a kid: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.” Annihilation easily does both, creating music that conceptually draws upon extraterrestrial inspirations, but compositionally remains firmly rooted in the real world.
According to the band:
The Undivided Wholeness Of All Things focuses on the spawning of a new Universe inside of a Multiverse. After the initial Big Bang explosion the massive quantity of energy that was generated led to the creation of several parallel Universes and multiple alternate realities. In one of those realities we “observe” the creation and destruction of a Universe that was ruled by a reptilian entity called Nagas.