Don’t be surprised if this is the first you’ve seen of an album from Internal Suffering. The long-running Colombian brutal death metal band has been silent for the past ten years, shuffling from city to city without releasing so much as an EP. And I’m fine with that, seeing as much of their previous output was not to my liking. 2006’s Awakening of the Rebel was naught but a smear of blast beats to me, and the continuous aggression of their music largely defeated itself. Cyclonic Void of Power, however, is a step in the right direction.
While retaining their usual overwhelming intensity, Internal Suffering have stepped up their game primarily by writing better riffs. Even in mid-album, songs like “Monumental Crusade” and “Dimension of the Wicked” retain a personality of their own in the midst of extremity on either side, the latter containing more good Nile riffs than At the Gate of Sethu and What Should Not be Unearthed combined. And while the band don’t quite have the songwriting chops of the similarly blasting Omnihility, these tracks are good enough to hold your attention for most of the album, and occasionally throw a monkey wrench in the work, like the Wormed riff halfway through “Upon Mystical Gateways.” It’s a lot to handle all at once, but Cyclonic Void of Power is a refreshingly brutal death release.
This is, of course a concept album, and the full song titles are hilariously lengthy and convoluted strings such as “Unleash the Antarctic Colossus (Prevail in the Universe with Crowning Might… Kadath is the Vortex!).” From the opening track and these gems, it appears that the story has something to do with Lovecraft entities melting through Antarctica and destroying the world. Being apparently the only person on Earth associated with death metal that hasn’t read Lovecraft, I assume this is not their own invention. Like Wormed, the concept is totally opaque unless you have the lyrics in front of you, in which case it would be completely inscrutable. But unlike their fellow (for a time) Spaniards, Internal Suffering do a mighty poor job of telling a story through music alone, and there’s no telling what is happening at any time other than a lot of very similar violence.
Cyclonic Void of Power sounds about like you’d expect; crushing and crushed. It’s well-intoned for brutality, though; the snares are poppy and cutting, the guitar tone is ragged but intelligible, and members each get time to shine across the album. Fabio Ramirez’ drums are a bit high in the mix, but the guy attacks the kit with such ferocity that it’s barely an issue, and the Cryptopsy sound that the band borrows from so heavily is bolstered by his performance. The real problem is the monotony induced by such a uniformly loud album that’s very much built on blast beats. Like the past two Omnihility albums, this would have been greatly improved if I could listen to it all the way through without severe fatigue.
Ten years have been kind to the band, and this album will put Internal Suffering back on the radar of many fans of brutal death metal, myself included. Cyclonic Void of Power can’t jump every hurdle on the way to a great album, but the band have made a strong showing of it. If you’re a fan of no-frills, light-speed brutality, Cyclonic Void of Power won’t disappoint.