Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stillborn: Los Asesinos del Sur (2011)


Poland is probably the most underrated country in all of metal. There's Behemoth, Vader, and Decapitated, but how many of the country's other 2,445 bands (per Metal Archives) can you name? And when a band comes out of the cold winters of a country that's been repeatedly trampled down in war simply because it's between superpowers, you can be pretty confident they're not going to fuck around with anything melodic or metalcore.

Stillborn fits perfectly with the no-bullshit metal traditions of that nation. Promotion company Godz ov War Productions sent me a review copy of the band's fourth full-length, Los Asesinos del Sur.

Like Behemoth, Stillborn practice an incredibly aggressive form of blackened death metal. The sound is built from fast tremolo riffing, death metal riffs, blast beats, and a hoarse Swe-death style growl, plus a handful of Slayer-esque solos. But Stillborn aren't going for the polished sheen of Poland's top metal exports. This is raw, as it should be, and has a thrashy edge--so it will appeal equally to fans of Skeletonwitch. A couple of times they slow it down to mid-paced, but most of the time this is all-out aggression, with plenty of great riffs and hooks.

I have a couple of nitpicky points, as usual. Why the Spanish title? Spanish is not a metal-sounding language, and presumably they speak Polish; I would have preferred a Polish-language title. I'm not even sure why they're talking about assassins from the south, when clearly these guys are not from the south. "Kot Wolanda" (which may actually be Polish for all I know) is just filler. And even though closer "Whore of the Whores" is a good song, the hook just makes me think "Roots, bloody roots".

The Verdict: This is some great, honest extreme metal from an underappreciated metal stronghold. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Go to Pagan Records to buy it.

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