Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Brazilian black metal triumph for Patria on Individualism

BRAZIL. Football, samba, carnivals...and black metal. The south American economic powerhouse has been something of a cradle of extreme metal with Sepultura, Soulfly and Krisiun. And, Patria, black metal five-piece, are set to join the hallowed ranks with their latest release Individualism.

To say this is a savage blackened slab of music would be an understatement; there is a refinement to the dark vision, visages of a dystopian, evil dominated world.

This comes across as a strike back against the conservative values of the newly emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies, which are so quickly seeing their industrialists and middle classes warm to the western cultures as they don their suits.

But given that Patria emerged from the dark, and occasionally frosty south of Brazil there is no faux capitalism on show here - there is instead a classic black metal sound with the right proportions of blast beats and manic riffing.

'Blood, Storm Prophecy' showcases the aural attack, while 'Orphan of Emptiness' reveals the depths in their take on black metal. Mantus and Igniis Inferniis team up on 'Far Beyond Scorn' to vary the tempos in an effective assault, while throughout Individualism Triumphsword's vocals maintain the deathly screams of classic black metal.

And, therein lies the challenge for Patria - they're not reinventing the black metal wheel. Instead they are leading the listener down a journey that began in Scandinavian's frozen wastes in the 90s with the likes of Emperor, Burzum and early Satyricon to name but a few.

What does this represent then? Is it an homage to the 'classic' black metal sound, or another re-tread? The answer lies deep in the album as the brief atmospheric 'Epiphany' instrumental merges into 'Your Rotten Heart Dies Now'. The band understands the dynamics necessary to make black metal more than monochromatic; anchored by WS Vulkan's bass and Abyssius' drums there is a consistent re-interpretation of black metal: while not deviating from the template Patria have freshened up their sound from previous releases and given a fresh perspective on black metal.

Peerless production and mixing give this album real clarity in its destructive intent and Triumphsword's impassioned utterings take listeners down familiar lyrical themes such as anti-Christian sentiments and rejection of the political futures mapped out by the so-called world leaders.

While Patria translates as 'homeland' this is not so much a reference to the band's country of origin, but rather their homeland of black metal.

Steeped in that tradition they offer, on Individualism, a treat for those exploring the black metal landscape - and Mantus' familiarity with its history and lineage (he has worked as a graphic designer for Indie Recordings in Norway and produced cover art for the likes of Vader and Dimmu Borgir).

This is an album that deserves to propel Patria to wider audiences, and maybe expose more people - and lend more support - to the Brazilian underground.

It's well worth taking the effort to checking this out.

Individualism is out now on Indie Recordings.

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