Válvera – Cycle Of Disaster

Válvera – Cycle Of Disaster
Brutal Records
Release Date: 28/08/2020
Running time: 40:30
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Maybe I am becoming repetitive with my speech, similar to what some bands do with their music, considering it is almost impossible to offer something completely new in Heavy Metal. Of course, about my speech, it is more a matter of laziness to find good words to express myself (Please boss, don’t fire me!) (Don’t worry Victor, you’re safe – Rick). Ok, what I am trying to say is that I don’t expect anything new from bands, but there are two things that still intrigue me when brutal music is the subject. Firstly, if you can offer complex and heavy music, but at the same time, make it simple and catchy, you will have my attention. Secondly, it doesn’t matter if what you play has already been played by tons of bands before, but if you can still put anger (in the very good meaning of the word) and passion into the music, then you will also have my attention. With this explanation, we can now talk about this album and review!

As you may imagine, the Brazilian Thrash Metal band Válvera does, exactly, the two things I mentioned above, and they go further. Their music is brutal, like good Thrash Metal should be, but it is not the same old Thrash Metal that other bands repeat constantly. It is something full of heaviness, very well thought out with catchy riffs, amazing song structures and good melodies too. As for the anger, well that probably comes from all the subjects covered in the tracks. This is easy to explain because the lyrics focus on many disgraces that human beings have suffered with through the years. Do you want one example? Well, ‘Glow of Death’ is about the famous case of contamination by Cesium-137, which happened in Brazil in 1987. At that time, some people tried to sell equipment found in the garbage, but it had all been in contact with a machine used for radioactive therapy. They had no idea what they were dealing with or selling, and it caused the death of hundreds of people.

Musically, I can hear a very mature band, focused on cadence, which offers good value to the riffs. Nothing is extremely fast but it’s far from being slow. Title track ‘Cycle of Disaster’ contains a wall of heaviness from guitarists Glauber Barreto and Rodrigo Torres and it is possible to understand that the band don’t want to keep repetitive structures in their music. You can hear many variations here and it brilliantly keeps the listeners attention throughout the album. Glauber also explores some melodies with his vocals on the excellent ‘The Damn Colony’, which showcases a catchier kind of music without losing its powerful sonority. Even the solo is played differently with the usual ‘Kerry King style of playing’ making way for something much more melodic and well-structured!

If Gabriel Prado has already showed sonority on his bass during the opening song ‘Nothing Left To Burn’ and drummer Leandro Peixoto shows his technique on ‘Glow Of Death’, then in ‘All Systems Fall’ both appear stronger than ever and do a magnificent job together. Maybe it is not the album’s best song but it actually feels like all the members have put their identity into the composition and if that isn’t the case then the person who wrote it has thought really closely about the feelings of their bandmates

‘Fight For Your Life’ has a more positive spirit and makes you feel stronger after listening to all the struggles and disgraces mentioned by the band. This song also shows more melodies and solos inspired by classic heavy metal bands and it opens space for the last song, the furious ‘Bringer Of Evil’ with its fast cadence. It is a perfect song choice to finish this great album.

I confess that I’ve never heard anything from Válvera before. Maybe I heard someone talking about them and it was interesting try to understand what they want to play. The first thing that popped into my head was that the band knew exactly what they wanted to achieve with this record. This is a natural step for a band releasing their third album after 10 years of existence and many tours but it is not just a case of being a mature band, I feel like they have focused on getting a good producer, not just to have good arrangements or recording sound, but who seems to have travelled deep into the band’s soul to extract their best compositions and help them to reach this amazing result.

Once again, I don’t know if that was what really happened with the relationship between Válvera and their producer Rogério Wecko, but I can assure that the final result is incredible. “Cycle Of Disaster” shows a professional band that is ready to go much further in their career.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Nothing Left To Burn
02. Cycle Of Disaster
03. Glow Of Death
04. The Damn Colony
05. All Systems Fall
06. Born On A Dead Planet
07. O.S. 1977
08. Fight For Your Life
09. Bringer Of Evil

LINE-UP
Glauber Barreto – Vocals and Guitars
Rodrigo Torres – Guitars
Gabriel Prado – Bass
Leandro Peixoto – Drums

LINKS:
www.valvera.com.br
www.facebook.com/bandavalvera/
www.instagram.com/valveraband
www.open.spotify.com/artist/3S87lwfQs6K1O1WsQrpPhz
www.deezer.com/artist/8945888
www.youtube.com/valveraoficial
www.brutalrecords.com/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Scars – Predatory

Scars – Predatory
Brutal Records
Release Date: 07/08/2020
Running Time: 57:35
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

I know that the Heavy Metal industry is not always fair with bands, no matter which part of the world they’re from. If you live in a country like Brazil, where the industry is a nest full of snakes and this kind of music is not even close to being popular, it can be even worse. Just playing good music is not enough. Bands must give their lives working on it, but like everything in the world, this nasty scenario brings a positive side. This hostile environment can be a beacon to guide us to find bands who have survived their passion throughout the years. For those who know the history of Scars, you will understand that this band is a pure example of persistence and loyalty to their fans and to the local scene.

The band has been on road since the 90’s with two long hiatuses. The first one ended in 2004 when the band had huge success with the incredible “The Nether Hell”. The second one finished in 2018. Now, Scars have finally delivered the gift that their fans have been waiting for, for so long! A gift called “Predatory”. Probably the most mature and complete album from them, it carries a mix of everything the band have done so far, but with new and improved elements. The band sound thirsty for blood, as always, but with enough experience to know what to do or not do in their music. The heaviness, and everything from good Thrash Metal, is very well balanced, and they have incredible technique.

The title song ‘Predatory’ opens the album, and it’s immediately possible to feel the blast of the purest Thrash Metal that we (fans) all know from Scars. As well as all the incredible riffs and a little bit more groove this time, I felt that the band have also taken some further steps. I am talking about Thiago Oliveira’s solos. He has brought virtuosity to the band without losing the furious side of the solos. He and his partner in guitar, Alex Zeraib, provide a masterclass when riffs are the subject, considering it’s the band’s trademark, as you can hear in ‘These Bloody Days’. João Gobo shows incredible drum variations that go from classic Thrash beats to fast double kicks, but it doesn’t let the music become overpowered by the heaviness. ‘Beyond The Valley Of Despair’ is a slower song, but it is perfect to explain the versatility of João.

Régis F. is even better in his vocal interpretations with the concept of human beings destroying themselves and the entire world around them. Even in ‘Ancient Power’, that has some massive cadenced and strong riffs, he shows all of the aggressiveness of his voice, screaming full of hate. Marcelo Mitché has his highlights too, when his independent bass lines appear and increase the groove, such as in the great song ‘The 72 Faces Of God’. This is a song that flees a little from the strong punch but is still an immensely powerful track.

Another new element in Scars sonority, at least for me, is what you can hear in the instrumental song ‘The Unsung Requiem’. It reminded me of the sort of things Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen might play, but with a dark and hellish atmosphere. Again, it is obvious that Scars have worked hard to increase their technical side. I don’t remember anything similar to this song in any previous Scars albums. The amazing harmonies in the beginning of ‘Ghostly Shadows’ is another example that demonstrates what I’m saying. It is like a guitar shred influence, without sounding exacerbated or repetitive.

As a fan, I think back to 2005, when I read many interviews and good words about Scars, for the first time. After listening to this record, I still have the same impression about the band that I had 15 years ago. That we are looking at one of the most honest and persistent bands from Brazil. They have survived this ‘predatory’ industry, despite some adversities throughout their career. Their desire to be strong and relevant is connected to their respect for the fans. It is enviable, and probably a good source of energy to keep strong in front of any issues. This passion and truth will inspire people who take this music seriously. “Predatory” is another Scars’ masterpiece. A lesson in Thrash Metal, and it shows that Scars are definitely back!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Predatory
02. These Bloody Days
03. Ancient Power
04. Sad Darkness of the Soul
05. The Unsung Requiem (Instrumental)
06. Ghostly Shadows
07. The 72 Faces of God
08. Beyond the Valley of Despair
09. Violent Show
10. Armageddon (Bonus Track)
11. Silent Force (Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Régis F. (vocals)
Alex Zeraib (guitars)
Thiago Oliveira (Lead guitars)
Marcelo Mitché (bass)
Joāo Gobo (drums)

LINKS:
www.brutalrecords.com/
www.instagram.com/scars.thrash/
www.facebook.com/scars.thrash/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCVxq9GLRKzsP5CnZ8GcEisw
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4FCGqzVWLxkupz86e6bhgJ

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast
Brutal Records
Date: 10/04/2020
Running Time: 34:27
Review by Victor Augusto
7.5/10

Many bands could seem to be totally unknown or new when they appear with a first release, but some work extremely hard before this first step to increase the expectations and anticipation of their first recorded release. Brazilian thrashers HellgardeN are a great example of this. They have been making noise and living fast for a few years, and I had the privilege of seeing them live before hearing this album, so I am one of those people who waited eagerly to hear it.

On the subject of all things that any band must plan and prepare before entering the studio, I have to mention the production of this album. It pleased me. It is raw, but good at the same time, and is refreshing, as there are plenty of albums sounding over digitalized and soulless. The distorted vocals and few guitar effects reminded me a little of Crust/Grindcore bands, just in terms of arrangements.

So, let me talk about the music. The Thrash Metal of HellgardeN has a lot of excitement in compositions and uses many good tempo variations to avoid repetition. So far, nothing new from what a good band in this genre must play. Guitarist, Caick Gabriel, does a great job with good riffs. Diego Pascuci screams a lot, and the mix makes his voice blend very well with all the other instruments. Guilherme Biondo has good bass lines which complement Caick’s guitar work and Drummer, Matheus Barreiros had the hard work to brake and change all cadences. In my opinion, his work, together with Caick are the highlights in the music and they create a good sonority with groove.

All the songs are good, but a couple stand out for me. ‘Evolution or Destruction’ shows the band’s ability to create catchy riffs. ‘Brainwash’ is my favorite due to the straight structure and more aggressive riffs. The album’s title track ‘Making Noise, Living Fast’ has a good bass sound opening it, as well as a good chorus, and lyrics that express the band’s spirit. ‘Possessed By Noise’ follows the same idea, but this last one has a fast and amazing ending to close the album.

Now, I should say what has worried me about HellgardeN’s music, and what I haven’t enjoyed since my first listening. Between many bands that have inspired them, probably Pantera is the strongest influence and it could be a problem. Of course, Pantera are a legendary group and I don’t need to explain why, even if anyone who is reading this review doesn’t like them. The problem is not being influenced by them, but when you sound exactly the same, like a copy sometimes, it could be dangerous. I will mention just two songs to enlighten what I am saying. The first one is ‘Spit on Hypocrisy’, with almost the same riff and cadence from ‘A New Level’. The second one and worst offender is ‘Fuck the Consequences’, that is totally like ‘Fucking Hostile’. Even Phil Anselmo’s counting (one, two, three, four) to open the song is identical on HellgardeN’s version.

Of course, I love to hear Pantera and everything that reminds me of them, but not when it sounds like a cover band. Probably this similarity will help them to conquer a few fans, as we all miss this important band since they quit almost 20 years ago, and a reunion is becoming (or has already become) almost impossible, after everything that’s happened during this time. But in my opinion, if HellgardeN are working on having a longer career, they must look for their own identity; this similarity will not work. Worse than that, the band could suffer by gaining the title of “Pantera Cover Band” and making this disappear, even when they create their own identity, could be hard. Considering that band’s members are working hard to be professional (different from most Brazilian underground bands, by the way) I think it is a subject to pay attention to.

However, it is not the end of the world (right, COVID 19?). The band did an amazing job for a first release and I can assure that you are going to have exciting concerts with these guys exploding with energy on stage. If you like powerful shows, just grab a beer and go to see them. The main thing here is that “Making Noise, Living Fast” shows a band hungry for blood with a great sound, great cover art, and it’s easy to listen to. Enjoy it!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Spit On Hypocrisy
02. Evolution Or Destruction
03. Learned To Play Dirty
04. Fuck The Consequences
05. Brainwash
06. Making Noise, Living Fast
07. Believe In Yourself Or Die
08. Possessed By Noise

LINE-UP:
Diego Pascuci – Vocals
Caick Gabriel Cavallari – Guitars
Matheus Barreiros – Drums
Guilherme Biondo – Bass

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/OfficialHellgardeN/
www.instagram.com/officialhellgarden
www.twitter.com/HellgardeNbr
www.spotify.com/artist/5TaQEYrbgw7mdKGtVNI2ye
www.youtube.com/channel/UClHK28vwf-Kkavveir7AhoA

Photo by Thiago Victal II

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.