"Southern Storm"

(Century Media)

01. Slaying Steel
02. Sentenced Morning
03. Twisting Sights
04. Minotaur
05. Combustion Inferno
06. Massacre Under the Sun
07. Bleeding Offers
08. Refuse/Resist
09. Origin of Terror
10. Contradictions of Decay
11. Sons of Pest
12. Black Wind
13. Whore of the Unlight

RATING: 9/10

Some things are good because they deliver an expected thing well. We don't want a bunch of pecans in our chocolate chip cookies, or excess plot and dialogue in our porn, and when people start talking about KRISIUN evolving, or (even worse) "maturing", we get nervous. What do we want from this lethal Brazilian trio? We want fast. We want KRISIUN fast, that particular maniacal blast they do that sounds like the whole song's completely off the rails and is about to collapse screaming down the roller coaster track in a hundred-mile-an-hour blizzard of blood and sheared metal. But it doesn't, no matter how many ludicrously shredding solos they lash to that reckless beat, no matter how many glowering barks are growled along. That tightly-wound clockspring of controlled chaos is what we want from KRISIUN, and if we hear any talk of "progression", it's gonna be an ugly day in death metal.

But here's the thing – for the first time in maybe forever, an extreme death metal band has figured out how to push that envelope of progression still further without fucking up what made them so awesome in the first place. Blame it on the band's years of marathon jam sessions or their constant touring, but they've been playing that fast, for that long, that they're pulling off tempo shifts, stop-on-a-dime mood changes, breakdowns and even the occasional catchy hook, all at speeds that would flay most mortals alive. They make it look so damn nonchalant that it takes a listen or two to really realize how much is going on in each song, just how many parts there are, and how mind-boggling their arrangements can sometimes be. It all flows with speed, power and a finesse no band this brutal should possess, and even the occasional midtempo section seethes with a pent-up energy most bands never muster.

KRISIUN understand, on a primal level, a basic lesson that eludes a lot of the most extreme death metallers. The same thing for forty-five minutes, no matter what that thing is, ceases to be impressive after a while. It becomes a drone and fades into the background, no matter how superhuman one's playing skill is in delivering it. That's why, with its starts and stops, rhythmic telegraphing riffs, and moments of blatantly melodic solo flash, "Southern Storm" is more punishing and brutal for its dynamics. The whole thing is intense as a free-fall heart attack because the band's not doing the same thing until it sounds like an unbalanced washing machine in the basement – their sound is an avalanche of different riffs, cascading drum fills and bitten-off vocal bursts, changing and churning at such breakneck speed as to be very nearly overwhelming.

In fact, the only letup in the intensity (and thus, the only minor disappointment) comes at "Southern Storm"'s most recognizable landmark – a faithful cover of SEPULTURA chestnut "Refuse/Resist" that seems kinda tacked on after the fact. Wouldn't a more KRISIUN-mutated cover of "Troops of Doom" or "Escape to the Void" made more sense? Thankfully, the rest of the album is prime KRISIUN, roiling black seas of unrelenting, overclocked death metal tension and release. Another masterpiece from a band that's been knocking them out of the park for most of a decade now, and is so on top of their game right now, it's frightening.


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