Ah, brutal death metal, one of metal’s most tenacious and consistent institutions. It seems like every year, despite the genre being firmly out of style, metal listeners receive an absurdly monumental serving of it and while the quality never seems to go down, the genre has slumped into a listless comfort. Italian outfit Antropofagus adds some more material to the already massive pile of death metal in 2017, and it’s everything you could want in brutal death metal without much more.
Antropofagus sounds like Malevolent Creation, Hour of Penance, and Morbid Angel had a threeway, somehow got pregnant, and decided to homeschool their child so it would be exactly like them. The opener, “Spawn of Chaos,” establishes a strict template for the rest of the album: tremolo riffs contrasted with pinch harmonics and few chuggy grooves with plenty of double bass, vomit mouth vocals that are completely indiscernible, all tied together with a hook that’s not so much of a hook and more just the title of the song repeated a few times. SPAWN OF CHAOS. SPAWN OF CHAOS. SPAWN OF CHAOS. If that sounds like your bag then I need not convince you further. You’ve probably already bought it.
This sort of death metal has a dedicated niche and the quality from album to album varies so little that it need not merit a review. It’s like going to a Chinese buffet. It’s the same no matter where you get it. The formula is so well established and messing with it without some real vision would most likely result in failure. The album writes itself and doesn’t need experimentation. A look at the Metal Archives listing of Antropofagus’ lyrical themes tells you everything you need to know: “Gore/Splatter (early), Hate, Anti-Religion, Anti-Christianity (Later)”. How much more derivative could you get? You might as well add a dramatic group picture of them staring down at the camera.
Maybe this album just hit me personally at the wrong time but isn’t anyone else sick of this sort of album? This exact, boring, formulaic, predictable album? I can’t give it a bad score because, at least, in a vacuum, it’s not bad. It has some good riffs. Some real atmosphere. The band has certainly been around for a while and I think that says something about their commitment to this music. The musicians are clearly very talented and able to actually play their instruments. The production is nice and punchy without being too overproduced. Eventually, however, I have to say “enough.” Let’s please write a new album! This one has been done since the 90s. Let’s just go 5 years without anyone writing one and then we can bring it back and call it “retro.”
If you like brutal death metal like I like Chinese buffet food (in other words: you can’t get enough of it even after two decades) then please give these talented musicians money. They’ve been around a while and deserve it. You can order their new album, M.O.R.T.E. – Methods of Resurrection Through Evisceration, out on May 12, here.