Chilean metal miscreants Perversor have unfortunately created what will likely become yet another “left by the wayside” album on their second full-length, Anticosmocrator. Not a confidence-inspiring start to a review, but let’s count the ways, shall we? A cover that’s good but not a standout? Check. Band name that’s decent but doubtlessly genre standard and a tad forgettable? Check. Album name that sounds metal and is sure to be underlined in red in your word processor of choice? Check. A sound which falls squarely under the older regions of the larger extreme metal umbrella? Check. [Review getting posted on a Saturday? Check. – AMG] Boring music that’s bound worth skipping? Not so fast, friend.
That last point doesn’t apply whatsoever to the music. If I were to pick an old band these maniacs resemble, the most I’d go with is Vulcano circa Bloody Vengeance, albeit with a catch. Vulcano are noted as an influence on South American extreme metal by way of being possibly its earliest practitioners, and they made what they could from the veritable stew that was heavy metal extremity at the time; elements of thrash, proto-death, and the most primitive proto-black you could imagine were played as fast as the band could manage. Perversor goes for a similar sound but can cleverly operate from the perspective of knowing what eventually became solidified as death metal. This leads to a focusing of early extreme metal elements towards classic death metal while avoiding being both a bog-standard OSDM Xeroxing job and an indistinguishable mass of nonsensical fuzzy riffs.
Anticosmocrator’s biggest success is how nicely it all fits together. At first blush these tunes may appear to be a decent yet unremarkable cacophony of blasting, razor sharp guitars, and reverb-y vocals. A look past the surface will yield much more favorable results, with the quick and vicious hooks of “Awakening of the Ancient Ones” being a good example of a band making a worthwhile and fresh throwback in 2015. The nearly constant blast beats become a backdrop for interlocking guitar riffs that are catchy and flow effortlessly from one another, creating a complete song that efficiently explores everywhere it wants to go and doesn’t needlessly linger anywhere. “The Age of Darkness” whips out a riff that sees Pestilence’s “Dehydrated” appropriated amidst the chaos, but I’m loath to complain because of how well it works in the song and how well Knernet’s drums accentuate its impact. The excellently titled “Metal Massacre” [Those poor metals didn’t stand a chance… – AMG] narrowly wins as Anticosmocrator‘s best cut with its high caliber thrashing riffs and Torrid’s over-the-top lyrics and phrasing rhythmically accentuates Knernet’s best drum performance for some worthwhile violent fun. Making this the closing song on the record was a great choice, and I could see it closing a Perversor live set wonderfully with its raw energy and barbaric charm.
There’s a lot to like about Anticosmocrator, but it isn’t perfect. Perversor’s unshakeable vision of music combined with almost airtight consistency in songwriting makes the record stay at an unwavering “very good” level; they don’t once come close to losing the plot, but they don’t knock it out of the park either. Picking highlights above was nearly an exercise in arbitrariness because of this, as each of the nine songs demonstrates the band’s knack for linking riffs in a smart way so there’s never a jarring change, yet monotony and annoying predictability doesn’t set in either. Perversor offer up little to specifically criticize, and making Anticosmocrator twenty-nine lean minutes should prevent even the most easily distracted listeners from losing interest in what they’re doing even if it isn’t a truly great record.
Perversor’s dedication to their brand of old-style brutality carries over to the production, which is rough but doesn’t intentionally muddy things up, save for all but burying Morbest’s bass. Knernet’s energy and skill are captured in a nice and natural drum sound that, like the guitars of Abominable, stay in the sweet spot between raw and professional. Sad as it may be, I’d wager Perversor’s second record will get passed over plenty of times this year because it doesn’t look that exciting on the surface. The sheer amount of low quality material released in any given year is staggering, and if I didn’t stumble into reviewing Anticosmocrator it likely would’ve flown under my radar. If you’re looking for anything that could be described as progressive, experimental, avant-garde, or different, keep searching. If you’re looking for quality metal, come on in; the water’s fine, and it’s pretty damn refreshing.