Review Summary: One of the BM underground's better kept secrets.Lechery Maledictions and Grieving Adjures to the Concerns of Flesh
is a very mediocre album. This, on the other hand… this trio came a long way in three years. This kind of album is what fuels my desire to search the entirety of the underground for new music, because when I stumble upon a release like this it makes me realize I obviously haven't heard all that's out there. This release needs to be discovered, listened to, and brought to people's attention. For every hundred or so poor to mediocre underground black metal releases, a discovery like this makes all the time and patience worth it.
I will be the first to admit this record isn't for everyone. The instruments are detuned and the production isn't what everyone's looking for, but at the same time this was not recorded on a tape player in a basement somewhere. It's actually fairly clear and crisp compared to a lot of stuff you can come by on Nykta, Parasite Curse, and the like. The explanation given is that Claustrophobia
comprises “50 minutes of grim melodies and harsh violence in a conceptual album about decadence and debauchery." The album cover is very grim and dark, but the music itself really isn't as dark as the artwork or explanation might lead you to believe.
"Da Nossa Carne" starts the album off with aggression and a beautiful melody before harsh, angry, passionate, screaming vocals come in and compliment the sound perfectly. They're not too suppressed in the mix. Rather, the instrumentation and the vocals compliment one another beautifully. The vocals are more hate-filled than the instruments, but they're in Portuguese, so if you're willing to go through the trouble of translation you can discover for yourself that the lyrics follow the same theme as Lechery Maledictions and Grieving Adjures to the Concerns of Flesh: sexual perversion. Translations never run through clearly, but among other things we can say for sure subject matters include bright and cheerful things such as misfortune, piss, lust, "taking the flesh of girls," inbreeding, vomit and saliva, momentum, and throbbing pain. For the first two tracks at least.
The beginning of "Alvoroço De Antecipação" is one of the slowest parts of the album, and quite melancholic compared to most of it, but it picks up and becomes frantic soon enough. The vocals are frantic throughout the album, almost desperate. The drum work is also sporadically frantic. The guitar work is very crafted and deliberate. There are a lot of hooky guitar parts and riffs, like around the 5:40 mark of the aforementioned song. Also, "Sôfrego Desencontro," one of the standout tracks on the album, has perhaps the most memorable riff (certainly the most memorable intro riff), which disappears and reappears throughout the track. Tempo meanders and ambient parts are scattered here and there (especially on the ten-minute "Hasteado Ao Infortúnio"), bringing moments of softness to relieve us momentarily of raw fury. Often it's easy to equate the torturous screams and fast-paced guitar and drum work with imagery of dystopia. Crumbling buildings, broken windows, and children walking the streets wearing gas masks.
Claustrophobia is a very impressive, well crafted, raw black metal album. I'll be looking forward to this band's future releases for sure.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Da Nossa Carne," "Perdição No Vicio d'Austeridade," "Alvoroço De Antecipação," "Sôfrego Desencontro"